Severe El Niño to drive local food prices up
MANILA -The persistence of upward pressure on food prices in the Philippines is more certain as United States-based climate experts see a 90-percent chance that the El Niño dry spell will prevail through the year and early 2024, and has significant probability of becoming a severe occurrence.
The American agency Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said in its latest monthly bulletin that while data gathered in June indicated a “weak” El Niño, there was a one-in-five chance of “an event that becomes ‘historically strong,” rivaling the [occurrences during the] winters of 1997-1998 or 2015-2016.
The most recent occurrence of a strong El Niño, 2015-2016, was considered one of the most severe on record.
The CPC said a strong El Niño meant sea temperature readings that were at least 2 degrees Celsius warmer than normal.
“Forecasters favor continued growth of El Niño through the fall, peaking this winter with moderate-to-strong intensity (with an 81-percent change that temperatures will be warmer than average by at least 1 degrees Celsius during November to January),” CPC said.
Fitch group subsidiary BMI said in a commentary international prices of rice have been easing but they remain high and may see an uptick later this year or early next year as the peak of the El Niño approaches.
BMI also said that based on five occurrences of “severe” El Niño since the 1990s, rice production in the Philippines was one of the worst-hit in Asia whenever the climate phenomenon hits overdrive.
Severe El Niño occurrences were recorded in 1991-1992, 2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2009-2010, and 2015-2016. INQ