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Retail price of imported rice should go down – group

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
Retail price of imported rice should go down � group
A worker arranges sacks of rice at a local rice store in Quezon City on October 4, 2023.
STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The retail price of imported rice should go down amid the downward trend in the world market as its cost remains high at P60 per kilo in Philippine markets, farmers’ group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura chairman Rosendo So said yesterday.

In a radio interview, So noted that from $680 per metric ton in September, the buying price of imported rice in Thailand and Vietnam went down to $580 per MT in October 2023 or a decline of $100 per metric ton.

“With this, from more than P60 (per kilo), the retail price of imported rice, particularly the special and premium rice should go down to P50 plus (per kilo),” So said.

He added that the bulk of the imported grains come from Vietnam and Thailand.

Data from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) showed that as of Oct. 5, at least 2.4 million metric tons of rice had been imported from Vietnam while 119,456 metric tons came from Thailand.

“We expect next month, the harvest will start in Vietnam and December for Thailand, so we expect that the buying price of imported rice will further go down,” So added.

Based on monitoring of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the retail price of imported special rice ranged between P53 and P60 per kilo; imported premium rice, between P52 and P58 per kilo; imported well-milled rice, between P45 and P48 per kilo and imported regular rice, P43 per kilo.

“The price ceiling imposed last time helped in pressuring Vietnam and Thailand to bring down their prices,” So said, referring to Executive Order No. 39 issued by President Marcos imposing a price cap of P41 and P45 per kilo on regular and well-milled rice, respectively.

Marcos lifted EO 39 on Oct. 4, a month after it was implemented on Sept. 5.

“The decrease in the buying price of rice from Vietnam and Thailand was big as they knew that we will not buy from them if their price is high,” So said.

For DA Assistant Secretary and spokesman Arnel de Mesa, the country will have enough supply of rice until the first quarter of 2024 amid the expected bountiful harvest.

“While we expect additional imports, our national stock inventory is very comfortable. Normally, we are eyeing between 60 and 90 days, but with our inventory plus imports going into the first quarter of next year, we will have a stable supply of rice in the whole country,” De Mesa said in a forum over the weekend.

He added that the rice inventory this month would reach 77 days and 94 days in November with the peak harvest season.

“We have no additional imports for the month of September as for the third quarter, the total rice imports reached 2.4 million metric tons. This is 600,000 metric tons lower than three million metric tons of the same period last year,” De Mesa said.

Based on DA monitoring, the retail price of local regular milled rice ranged between P41 and P45; regular well-milled rice, between P45 and P48 per kilo; local premium rice, between P47 and P60 per kilo; and local special rice, between P54 and P62 per kilo.

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