Rice inventory up in February 2019 from a year ago

MANILA, Philippines – Rice stocks are seemingly recovering ahead of the impending unimpeded importation of the crop, as inventory grew year-on-year by 19.24% to 2.14 million metric tons (MMT) as of February 1, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.

However, this is a 16.05% drop from stocks as of January 1, when inventory levels reached 2.55 MMT.

With the country's average consumption of rice at 32,000 metric tons (MT) daily, the current inventory is sufficient for almost 67 days.

After unfavorable weather affected rice production in 2018, this year is expected to see better harvest, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in an earlier interview. (READ: A staple problem? A history of rice crisis in the Philippines)

Household stocks, which took majority of the total inventory's shares at 48.22%, saw a double-digit drop from 10.8 MMT in February 2018 to 1.03 MMT in the same month this year.

Month-on-month, February's household stocks were also lower by 5.09% from January's 1.25 MMT.

Commercial households, meanwhile, saw a steeper month-on-month drop by 32.69% to 811,200 MT from 1.21 MMT in January.

However, this is a 25.46% increase from 646,560 MT a year ago. Commercial stocks contribute 37.88% to the total rice stocks. 

Only National Food Authority (NFA) stocks grew from a yearly and monthly comparison. From 61,400 MT in February 2018, current stocks jumped 384.72% to 297,620 MT. Month-on-month, there was a 203.97% surge.

Despite the increase in stocks, the NFA's shares in the overall inventory only took up 13.90%. The state grains agency has been attempting to refill its buffer stocks since last year. 

After President Rodrigo Duterte signed the rice tariffication law in February, the NFA was limited to its buffer stocking function. – Rappler.com