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PH may need not increase rice imports

15 April 2024

MANILA, Philippines — Improving harvests despite dry conditions brought by El Niño might mean that the full-year inflow of imported milled rice will not increase in 2024, according to the latest estimates of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In a report, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service cut  its rice import forecast for the Philippines to 3.9 million metric tons (MT) from its previous projection of 4.1 million MT—made last March—due to a “larger crop.”

The lowered forecast settles at the same level as the Philippine rice imports in 2023. Over the past four years, Philippine rice imports have increased steadily from 2.45 million MT in 2020.

In its report released this month, the American agency raised its forecast for Philippine milled rice output for this year to 12.6 million MT from its March forecast of 12.3 million MT.

Meanwhile, the USDA’s estimate of total global imports is nearly unchanged at 53.4 million MT from 53.3 million MT as estimated in March.

The estimate for global exports was similarly raised slightly to 53.4 million MT from last month’s 53.3 million MT.

Imports hit 1.17 million MT as of April 4

So far, rice cargoes that entered the archipelago have surpassed the million-MT mark, with the latest data from the Bureau of Plant Industry showing that imports totaled 1.17 million MT as of April 4.

Vietnam remains the leading source of milled rice shipped to the Philippines with 62.4 percent or 734,583 MT of the total. Thailand came second with 251,738 MT while Pakistan placed third with 124,038 MT.

The Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) said earlier traders were anticipated to source more imported rice to meet the demand for the staple food ahead of lean months.

“Importers may be anticipating low supply in the coming months, particularly during the lean months of July to September, given the expected decline in production due to El Niño,” FFF national manager Raul Montemayor said in a message.

The FFF said rice import purchases so far this year were “quite surprising” as global prices from January to March were about 30 percent higher than in the same period last year.

Montemayor said some of the shipments of imported rice arrived in the early part of 2024, adding that orders were placed as free-on-board (FOB) prices of Thai and Pakistani rice declined to $560 to $570 per ton as opposed to Vietnam’s FOB price of more than $600 per ton.

Source : msn