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Young Pinoys seen drinking more imported wine.

Philippine wine imports could rise by at least 16 percent to 16 million liters this year due to the country's economic expansion, as well as the increasing demand of young Filipinos for the alcoholic beverage.

A recent Global Agricultural Information Network (Gain) report noted that the total volume of imported wine this year will increase by 2.2 million liters, from 13.8 million liters recorded in 2017.

'Traders forecast 15-percent to 20-percent growth in 2018,' the report prepared by the United States Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS) in Manila read.

'[The] country's robust economy, wine's increasing popularity, a young and growing population and low relative consumption create an extraordinary profile that makes the Philippines one of the most exciting wine markets in the world,' it added.

The Gain report noted wine 'comprises less than 1 percent of the estimated 2.5 billion liters of alcoholic beverages consumed annually' in the Philippines.

The USDA-FAS in Manila expects wine imports to record a double-digit growth despite a number of challenges that could prevent its entry, such as high tariffs and taxes, as well as the weakening of the peso.

'Challenges include tariffs and taxes that inflate the final price by 75 percent, the strong US dollar, distribution setbacks and intense competition due to regional free-trade agreements,' the report read.

In terms of value, the country's wine-import bill this year would reach a record high of $58 million, 16.46 percent higher than the $49.8 million recorded in 2017, according to the Gain report.

'From 2000 to 2017, the volume of wine exports to the Philippines tripled to 13.8 million liters [1.5 million cases], while the value nearly quintupled to $49.8 million,' the report read.

'Continued growth in wine consumption is presaged by the country's young, fast-growing and highly urbanized population with increasingly sophisticated tastes and ever-growing access to supermarkets,' it added.

The Gain report estimated that, at present, there at least 20 million Filipinos who 'have sufficient income to purchase wine occasionally.'

The report also noted that the US would remain as the top source of imported wine for the Philippines this year. The volume and value of United States exports to the Philippines are expected to reach record-high levels.

The country's wine import volume from the US this year would rise by 10.25 percent to 4.3 million liters, while the import bill is expected to expand by 12.06 percent to $13 million.

'The US has long been the leading supplier of wines to the Philippines, surpassing France in 2000. While the volume of exports doubled from 2000 to 2017, the value quintupled,' the Gain report read. 'In 2017 the US held a 29-percent market share by volume, and a 23-percent market share by value.'

The Gain report also said it also expects to remain as the largest market for US wine in the Southeast Asian region in the 'foreseeable future.'

'The Philippines has been the largest market for US wines in Southeast Asia by volume since 2009, surpassing even major transshipment destinations in the region, such as Vietnam and Singapore,' it read.

The Gain report noted that 55 percent of the wine sold in the domestic market is red. 'Aside from its perceived health benefits, importers report that consumers who have shifted from hard liquor prefer red wine because of its robust and oaky taste profile.'
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:May 13, 2018
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