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PHL rice imports to hit 1.1 MMT in 2019-report.

The country's rice imports in 2019 could decline by 21.42 percent to 1.1 million metric tons (MMT), as the increase in palay output would allow the Philippines to end 2018 with more stocks.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a report that the country's total rice imports next year would decline by 300,000 metric tons (MT), from the projected 1.4 MMT this year.

'The Philippines is down 300,000 tons to 1.1 million tons on more abundant domestic supplies,' the USDA report read.

However, the USDA said its forecast is 'subject to change, particularly in light of ongoing government decisions related to quantitative restrictions on imports.'

This is the first grains production and supply forecast made by the USDA for 2019.

The USDA said the country's total milled-rice output in 2019 would remain relatively flat at 12.35 MMT. Philippine milled-rice output this year would rise by 5.25 percent to 12.3 MMT, from 11.686 MMT in 2017, according to the USDA.

The USDA estimates that the country's total rice consumption next year would increase slightly by 1.51 percent to 13.4 MMT, from 13.2 MMT this year.

In terms of ending stocks, the USDA expects the Philippines to end 2018 with a carry-over volume of nearly 2.5 MMT for next year.

The USDA said the country's total area harvested with rice in 2019 would remain flat at 4.86 million hectares, but yield per hectare is seen to increase slightly to 4.04 MT per hectare from 4.02 MT per hectare.

The Department of Agriculture has earlier projected that total palay output this year would rise by nearly 3.11 percent to a record high of nearly 20 MMT on the back of higher yield and better farm-gate prices.

'This year, rice production is expected to grow by about 600,000 metric tons [MT], stimulated mainly by good palay-buying prices, favorable climate and the increase in the adoption of good-quality and hybrid seeds by farmers,' Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Pinol said.

The Philippines produced a record-high 19.3 MMT of palay in 2017, 9.3 percent higher than the 17.3 MMT recorded in 2016, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The 9.3-percent increase in palay output last year allowed the country to achieve a 96-percent self-sufficiency in rice.

'Last year the country posted its highest rice harvest in history at 19.28 MMT, which reduced the country's dependence on imported rice. Imports this year would reach only about 600,000 to 800,000 MT this year, from over 2 MMT in 2010,' Pinol said.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:May 13, 2018
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