PH is now biggest rice importer

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MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is now the world’s biggest rice importer for 2019, surpassing China in terms of buying rice in the global market.

PH’s rice importation has now reached three (3) million metric tons (MT) this year and is set to reach a record high in rice imports.

Manila has opened the floodgates to rice importation and very much poised to beating China on this.

Through 2019, China has already imported 2.5 million MT, lower from the earlier projection of 3.15 million MT amid abundant domestic supply.

According to a recent United States Department of Agriculture Service (USDA-FAS) report, the Philippines has emerged as the top global importer of rice and last month, the Philippines and China are almost tied at 3.1 million MT.

In comparison, China’s share of global rice imports has almost reduced by half, to just five to six percent. 

This besides the fact that China’s population now stands at 1.4 billion compared with the 110 million population of the Philippines. 

In March 2019, the Philippines implemented the Rice Tariffication Act, which led to a considerable increase in imports and, consequently, decline in domestic prices. 

While this helped lower inflation, USDA said the adjustment to rice liberalization remains a challenge for the Philippines.

Next year, however, the Philippines will tone down its rice importation amid excessive supply coupled with improvements in local production. But this will still remain above the five-year average. By 2020, the country is seen to import some 2.5 million MT of rice, exactly the same volume as China this year. 

“Decreased imports from original projection reflect the preliminary investigation into import safeguards,” USDA said.

Production of milled rice this year is the same as the 12 million MT from last year. Rice consumption has been raised to 14.2 million MT from 14.1 million MT in 2018. 

Latest data from the PSA showed that total rice inventory as of September stood at 1.84 million MT, 13.7 percent higher than last year’s volume stock of 1.16 million MT. (Cate Pallarco/IAMIGO/CNS)

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