Supply disruptions seen to hike food pricesBy Michelle V. Remo, Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The devastating monsoon rains that paralyzed most of Luzon and parts of the Visayas this week are seen to cause a disruption in the supply of some agricultural products and, therefore, a temporary spike in food prices.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Wednesday said the price of food, particularly products from areas affected by the rains, may likely increase at a faster rate because of temporary disruptions in the supply chain.
BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., however, sees the impact on food prices to be short-lived.
“The area affected by the rains is rather widespread—20 provinces in Luzon and the Visayas—but [according to an] initial assessment by the Department of Agriculture, portions of the damaged crops are recoverable, so what we have is not a situation of total loss,” said Tetangco.
The National Statistics Office yesterday reported that inflation averaged 3.2 percent in July and 3.1 percent in the first seven months of the year.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Wednesday said that except for fish and vegetables, most basic goods may be seen to be stable in terms of supply and price despite concerns of overpricing by retailers and of “panic buying” by consumers.
According to Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, supplies and prices of fish and vegetables traditionally become volatile in times of calamity because of sourcing and distribution difficulties.
However, he said that he had talked to the retailers and they said supplies and prices for other goods were generally stable.
He said the results of the DTI’s monitoring of prices in wet markets, groceries, supermarkets and other retail outlets amid concerns that consumers would be scrambling for supplies in reaction to weeks of rainy weather would be available by Thursday.
Philippine Association of Supermarkets, Inc. president Carlos Cabochan said in an e-mail message that the industry group’s members are “here for the long haul” and do not raise prices overnight to take advantage of customers already having difficulty. Other groups could not be reached for comment as of press time.
According to the DTI’s latest weekly price monitoring chart (data as of Aug. 3, published on Aug. 6), retail prices for food and medicines were generally stable over the past week. Fuel prices increased, however.
Prices as of Aug. 3 (compared to the week ending July 27) were unchanged for canned sardines (P13 to P13.45 per can), noodles (P6.10 to P6.90 per pack), evaporated and condensed milk (P34.50 to P46.65), bread (P23 per pack of 10 pieces pan de sal and P38.50 per 400 gm pack of sliced bread), commercial rice (between P30 to P45 per kilogram), sugar (P44 to P50 per kg), meat and poultry (P130 to P260 per kg.), eggs (P4.50 per piece) and fish (P100 to P120 per kg).
Vegetable prices showed some changes. The prices of ampalaya (bitter gourd), cabbage and tomato prices were unchanged at P50 per kg, P40 per kg and P40 per kg, respectively. Carrots were P10 higher to P80 per kg from P70. Eggplant was cheaper, however, by P10 to P40 per kg from P50.
Fuel prices increased. LPG (11kg) was at the P570 to P713 range from the previous week’s P516 to P640 range. Auto LPG was at P24 to P29.38 per liter from P23.99 to P25.70 per liter. Diesel was at P39.80 to P42.50 per liter and unleaded gasoline was at the P48.10 to P55.96 range from the P48 to P55.57 range previously.
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