PHL seen to stay as 2nd top buyer of rice in 2022

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THE Philippines is projected to remain as the world’s second-biggest buyer of rice in 2022 for the third consecutive year with import volume reaching 2.5 million metric tons (MMT), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

In its monthly global grain report, the USDA revised upward its rice import forecast for the Philippines both for 2021 and 2022.

The USDA explained that the country’s rice imports reached 2.8 MMT from an earlier projection of 2.6 MMT, driven by “fast import pace” from Vietnam, the country’s top supplier of the staple.

For this year, the USDA hiked its rice import forecast to 2.5 MMT from the 2.4 MMT estimate last month due to “expected strong buying from Vietnam.”

Despite the 300,000 MT year-on-year decline in expected rice imports this year, the Philippines will remain as the world’s second-largest buyer of the staple for the third straight year, based on USDA data.

China is projected to remain the biggest buyer of rice this year at 4.6 MMT, down from last year’s 4.75 MMT, according to USDA data.

The USDA, however, maintained its milled rice production forecast for the Philippines this year at 12.3 MMT, slightly lower than last year’s record-level of 12.416 MMT. The USDA also kept its total consumption and residual forecast for the Philippines this year at 14.85 MMT, 400,000 MT higher than last year.

The BusinessMirror broke the story that the country’s rice imports last year expanded by 32 percent  year-on-year to 2.771 million metric tons (MMT), the second-largest import volume by the Philippines in history. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/01/06/bpi-data-phl-rice-imports-jump-32-percent-to-2-771-mmt-in-2021/).

Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) data released to the public earlier showed that total rice imports last year rose by 672,000 MT from the 2.099 MMT recorded in 2020.

Historical government data showed this is the second-highest rice import volume recorded by the Philippines.

BPI data showed that Vietnam remained as the country’s top supplier of rice as it accounted for 85 percent of the total import volume or about 2.36 MMT.

The country’s rice imports from Vietnam last year rose by 29 percent from 1.828 MMT in 2020, based on BPI data.

Last year’s top rice importer was Davao-based Nan Stu Agri Traders with a total volume of 169,774.95 metric tons (MT), followed by Manila-based Bestow Industries Inc. at 129,339.28 MT, according to BPI data.

BPI data showed a total of 154 entities imported rice last year from Cambodia, China, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The figure was lower than the 193 entities that imported rice in 2020.