PH rice stocks up, supply still tight
Rice inventories in the Philippines, one of the world’s top importers of the grain, increased 12% over the preceding month in May due mainly to imports from its Asian neighbors, the government’s Bureau of Agricultural Statistics said.
The country’s rice stocks hit 2.61 million metric tons as of May 1, up 34.5% from the March 1 level of 1.94 million tons when inventories slid to its lowest level in 6 months.
Rice stored in commercial and government warehouses rose 13% to 42 days or 1-1/2 months of daily consumption from 37 days in April, the BAS said. Daily rice use in the Philippines is currently estimated at 35,000 to 36,000 tons.
As a matter of policy to guard against price spikes going into the teeth of the typhoon season from June to October, the Philippines would want to have enough rice stocks for 3 months of consumption.
Commercial warehouses contained enough rice for 24 days, up from 20 days in April, while government warehouses had rice for 18, a marginal improvement from seven days, the level it had been for the last two months.
The Philippines recently signed a deal with Vietnam to buy 187,000 tons of the standard 5% broken rice at an average price of $459.75 per ton which will be delivered from April to June. That rice is apparently already in the Philippines.
The government’s National Food Authority, the body which ensures stable prices of rice for the country’s nearly 100 million people, said it will also import 163,000 ton of rice as part of trade obligations under the World Trade Organization, bringing total imports to 350,000 tons.
Of the planned rice imports, some 98,000 tons will come from Thailand, one of the world’s top rice exporters, with 25,000 tons each coming from China and India, and the remaining 15,000 tons from Australia. The government had proudly claimed the Philippines will become self-sufficient in rice in 2013.
Most in the commodity grains business have always believed the Philippines will still be importing anywhere from 800,000 tons to 1.5 million tons of rice this year.
With Philippine rice yields lagging, planted acreage constrained by urbanization and demand surging, the country is seen staying as a net importer of rice in the years ahead. The BAS had earlier projected that first-half Philippine rice production may dip.
Separately, farmgate unmilled rice prices continued to rise in the Philippines.
The BAS said the price of unmilled rice hit 16.70 pesos/kg, up nearly 3% from the level at the beginning of April. Analysts believe that is a sign of a tightening supply picture for the grain in the Philippines. - Rappler.com