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Rice Price Still High After Intervention

Rice prices in most markets showed no sign of decrease Thursday, following an emergency ban on exports Wednesday and soothing speeches by Prime Minister Hun Sen this week.

Prices were slightly down in Siem Reap province, vendors said.

A vendor at O'Russei Market in Phnom Penh, who only gave her first name, Sophy, said the rice price remained high on Thursday.

"The price of rice is still high, and now we have not yet heard of any falling prices," she said.

Hundreds of tons of state-sold rice across the country have been sold directly to consumers, but this too had little effect on market prices, albeit after only one day.

Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh said Thursday that the government can't reduce all the prices across Cambodia in a short amount of time, but the ministry had prepared hundreds of thousands of tons of rice to sell in markets where prices were significantly increasing.

Meanwhile, some rice exporters said Thursday they were concerned with the future of their businesses, following a two-month ban on exports issued Wednesday.

But many said they supported the national export ban, which was ordered by Prime Minister Hun Sen and enacted by the Ministry of Commerce.

Kim Savuth, president of the Khmer Food Import Export Company, in Phnom Penh, said Thursday the government should not ban the export of all kinds of rice.

The highest quality rice enjoys a very high price on the international market, he said, and is a type of rice with little demand among common Cambodians.

"That kind of rice should be allowed for export," he said. "If not, it will reduce the income of exporters."