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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Philippines Eyes Importing 800,000 Tonnes of Rice

National Food Authority (NFA) workers walk atop sacks of rice as they make an inventory of rice stocks at a government rice warehouse in Taguig, Metro Manila March 11, 2014. Overall rice stocks in the Philippines fell to their lowest in 4 months in February, data showed on Monday, increasing pressure on Manila to import more of the national staple. The country has been expected to ship in more rice to boost supply as it battles local prices that have risen for 7 straight weeks with speculation rife on the timing and size of any tender. The Philippines is looking to import as much as 800,000 tonnes of rice this year to boost thinning stockpiles and curb local price increases, a senior agriculture official said on Tuesday. Local supplies have also been declining as the government clamps down on smugglers looking to avoid hefty taxes. Rice traders and farm experts had raised the possibilities that the Philippines might need to import as much as 2 Million Tonnes of the grain after missing it's self sufficiency target because of strong typhoons last year. Purchases by the Philippines, one of the world's biggest buyers of the grain, could support falling rice prices in Asia with both Vietnam and Thailand likely to bid aggressively for any new deal. The US Dept. of Agriculture has already said it expects Philippine rice imports to hit 1.4 Million Tonnes in 2014 which would be the highest in 4 years.        
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