THE Philippines’s rice imports through October expanded by 44 percent on an annual basis to a new record high of over 3.2 million metric tons (MMT), in line with earlier market expectations.
Latest Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) data showed that total rice imports as of end-October reached 3.234 MMT, nearly a million metric tons higher than the 2.242 MMT recorded volume in the same 10-month period last year.
The volume has already eclipsed the country’s previous record-high import volume of 3.122 MMT recorded in 2019.
The Philippines, the world’s second-largest buyer of rice, is projected to import a total volume of 3.4 MMT this year, according to latest estimates of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
BPI data showed that 141 eligible rice importers—companies, corporations, traders—brought in the volume during the reference period. The rice importers used a total of 3,600 sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances.
BPI data also showed that total rice imports until November 3 have reached 3.242 MMT, with the bulk of the volume or about 2.701 MMT coming from Vietnam.
Vietnam was followed by Myanmar at 210,119.28 MT and Thailand at 158,836.375 MT, based on BPI data.
BPI data also showed that Pakistan exported 151,935.675 MT of rice to the Philippines in the 10-month period.
The Philippines also imported 9,328.385 MT and 9,905.3 MT from China and India, respectively.
Per BPI data, the other countries of origin of the country’s rice imports were Japan, Singapore and Spain.
During the reference period, NAN STU Agri Traders was the top rice importer with a total volume of 185,280.35 MT, followed by Manus Dei Resources Ent. Inc. at 142,881.28 MT, based on BPI data.
In September, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said the country’s total palay production this year would settle at 19.5 MMT or about 12.754 MMT of rice.
The DA was confident that the production forecast would be achieved despite “global challenges,” such as pricier fuel and fertilizer.
The DA noted that the expected total rice import arrival from January to September would only be at 2.751 MMT.
“While all of the remaining issued import clearances by the Bureau of Plant Industry will only be valid until the third quarter and imports are yet to be estimated on the last quarter of this year, based on historical trend, import arrivals start to decline by fourth quarter in time for the peak harvest from October to November,” it said.
Image credits: Nonie Reyes