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Philippines: Rice prices up for 8th straight month

Despite the continuous arrival of rice imports, prices of the Filipino’s main staple remain in an upward streak for eight months now, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported.

In its regular update on palay, rice and corn prices, PSA said the average wholesale price of well-milled rice rose 10 percent to P43.18 per kilogram at the start of this month versus a year ago while week-on-week prices inched up by a percentage. Its average retail price also increased to P45.71 per kg, up by nine percent year-on-year.

The wholesale price of regular-milled rice was P40.08 per kg, 13 percent higher than the previous year. Its average retail price also increased 11 percent to P42.26 per kg.

For palay, the average price went up to P22.11 per kg from P19.59 per kg last year. Week-on-week, prices were also up by almost two percent.

State-run National Food Authority (NFA) earlier admitted that the imports still have no effect on the expected lowering of prices.

NFA rice serves as a market stabilizer, minimizing the jacking up of prices in commercial rice.

The Department of Agriculture is hopeful though that the prices of rice would stabilize by end-September with an expected decrease of up to P3 per kg.

The PSA said the country’s rice inventory remains on a downward trend as it is now at 1.44 million metric tons as of last week. Based on the average daily consumption of Filipinos of 32,000 MT, the current inventory is only sufficient for 45 days when it is supposed to last for 90 days.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol called on the government to make use of its power to arrest market manipulators amid the continued hike in prices of basic commodities.

The DA has already implemented counter-inflationary measures to help ease prices of commodities, including the lifting of the special safeguard mechanism that sets a trigger price of P93.96 per kilogram for poultry, which means that imported chicken brought in at P70 per kg will be charged an additional tariff of P23.96 to place the price at par with P93.96.

It also allowed the importation of round scad or galunggong to fill supply deficiency especially during the implementation of the closed fishing season.

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