Philippines increases Vietnam rice imports to curb record prices


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Philippines increases Vietnam rice imports to curb record prices
The Philippines will boost rice imports from Vietnam to a total of 1 million metric tons this year as Asia’s second-biggest buyer battles retail prices that have surged to a record.
State agency National Food Authority will continue to supply increased amount of subsidized rice to the market from its reserves until September, Francis Pangilinan, secretary for food security, said in a statement today. The NFA will order 200,000 tons from Vietnam, the world’s third-largest exporter, in addition to the 800,000-ton contract in April, scheduled for delivery from May to August, he said.
The country plans to ease import curbs as it fights rising prices and to limit the NFA’s losses, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said this week. President Benigno Aquino is seeking to curb inflation running at the fastest pace since November 2011, boosted by the higher cost of rice, a staple in the country. The Philippines will import 1.8 million tons in 2014-2015, down from 2 million tons in 2013-2014, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Retail prices of the well-milled variety rose 20 percent from a year earlier to 42.67 pesos ($0.97) a kilogram in the second week of June, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics. The Thai 5-percent broken white rice, an Asian benchmark, dropped 22 percent in the past year to $408 a ton on June 25, Thai Rice Exporters Association data show. Vietnam is set to be the biggest shipper in 2013-2014 after India and Thailand, according to the USDA.
The Southeast Asian nation increased the quota for lower-duty imports to 805,000 tons this year from 350,000 tons in 2013, Romeo Recide, the country’s lead negotiator at the World Trade Organization, said June 26. The WTO’s committee on trade in goods also granted the country’s petition to extend the quantitative restrictions on rice imports until 2017.

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