THE state’s rice tariff collection from January to October has reached nearly P23 billion—a new record high—as higher global grain prices offset the drop in import volume, Bureau of Customs (BOC) data showed.
BOC data released to the public, which was analyzed by the BusinessMirror, showed that it collected P22.911 billion in rice tariffs during the 10-month period, about 19.16 percent higher than the P19.228 billion it recorded in the same period of last year.
The BOC saw a double-digit growth rate in rice tariff collection even though the total volume of rice imports dropped by 4.35 percent on an annual basis.
The total volume of rice imports that entered the country during the 10-month period reached 2.846 billion kilograms, some 129.359 million kilograms lower than the 2.975 billion kilograms recorded last year, BOC data showed.
In October alone, total rice import volume fell by 20.55 percent to 164.076 million kilograms from 206.512 million kilograms last year, based on BOC data. However, rice tariff collection for October rose by nearly 30 percent to P1.676 billion from P1.296 billion due to higher rice prices in the world market.
Pundits and industry players have earlier explained that inbound shipments of rice have been challenged by higher global prices and supply constraints leading to the drop in import volume on an annual basis.
Nonetheless, the spike in world rice prices, induced by India’s ban on its exports, have lifted the country’s tariff collection.
Higher landed cost
BOC data showed that the total dutiable value of the rice imported during the 10-month period rose by 15.14 percent to $1.175 billion from $1.021 billion in the same period of last year, reflecting the hike in the cost of rice in the world market.
BOC data also showed that the cost, insurance, freight (CIF) of a metric ton (equivalent to 1,000 kilograms) of rice from January to October averaged at $413.16, a fifth higher than the $343.23 average quotation recorded last year.
In September and October, the CIF of rice per metric ton broke the $500 per metric ton level. The CIF of rice on a per-metric ton basis in October reached $514.08, almost 70 percent higher than the $305.29 average quotation in the same month of 2022, based on BOC data.
On a per-kilogram basis, this means that the CIF cost of imported rice averaged to date at $23, about 25 percent higher than last year’s $18.46 per kilogram.
The weakening of the Philippine peso against the US dollar also contributed to higher rice tariff collected by the BOC as the local currency declined by 4.39 percent from January to October, according to the bureau’s figures.
BOC data showed that the average exchange rate during the 10-month period stood at P55.62 per US dollar versus the P53.28 per US dollar rate recorded last year.
On a peso basis, the average landed cost of imported rice during the 10-month period stood at P31.27 per kilogram.
In October alone, the landed cost of imported rice reached P39.63 per kilogram, 62.29 percent higher than the P24.42 per kilogram average quotation in the same month of last year, reflecting the movements in the global grains market.
Record-high rice tariff collection
With the latest figures, the BOC has already surpassed the P22.8 billion rice tariffs it collected for the entire 2022 with still two months remaining for 2023.
Historical BOC data also showed that its rice tariff collection is already the highest on record since the national government made the landmark decision to liberalize the country’s rice trade regime in 2019.
The BOC’s rice tariff collection surged past the P20 billion mark last year as the country imported a record volume of over 3.8 million metric tons (MMT) or 3.8 billion kilograms.
Rice tariffs collected by the BOC in excess of P10 billion are automatically earmarked for the national government’s assistance program that provides P5,000 in cash subsidy to every eligible local palay farmer.
This means that Filipino rice farmers next year are already assured of almost P3 billion in financial assistance.