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NFA expects rice prices to stabilize as imports seen to start coming in

/ 05:39 AM December 02, 2017

State-run National Food Authority (NFA) said rice prices were expected to settle down to its previous levels as imports were expected to start coming in before Christmas.

The NFA was quick to clarify that the increase in rice prices at this time was due to the high farm-gate prices of paddy and not due to lack of supply.

“We have adequate volume of industry-wide rice inventories at this time. The country’s rice stocks, at 1.944 million metric tons (MT), would last for 61 days based on the average national daily requirement of 31,462 MT,” the agency said.

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“Traders are now milling and starting to sell their newly harvested stocks bought at higher ex-farm prices,” the NFA said. “This harvest season, for example, traders were buying palay from P18 to P24 per kilogram. Thus, when processed into rice, the higher wholesale and retail prices will be passed on to retailers and consumers.”

For the last three years, rice prices started registering increases in the middle of the third quarter. Moreover, the main harvest that started in late September is almost over and the lean months, or the period when there is very low or no harvest, are now looming.

For this year, the NFA said the price increase was observed to be relatively lower than in previous years.

The average retail prices of regular and well-milled rice varieties this month were recorded at P37 and P40 per kilogram, respectively.

“We continue to sell low-priced NFA rice at P27 and P32 per kilogram through our accredited retailers so that consumers will have an option to buy good quality but lower-priced rice,” the agency said.

The NFA added that it had fielded monitoring teams in supermarkets to ensure that NFA rice was available in places where price increases were noted.

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