THE government said a bumper harvest pushed the country’s rice stocks higher at the beginning of May this year compared to the previous month, but there was no assurance whether this would help reduce the domestic prices of rice.
In a report, the Philippine Statistics Authority -Bureau of Agricultural Statistics said that as of May 1, the Philippines had enough rice stocks to meet domestic requirements for 74 days, up from 64 days recorded in the previous month.
“The total rice stock inventory as of May 1, 2014 was 2.52 million metric tons, or 15.5 percent higher than last month’s inventory of 2.18 million metric tons, but 3.6 percent below the record in May 2013 of 2.61 million metric tons,” the BAS said.
Rice is the country’s staple food, and higher prices of food contributed to a faster inflation rate of 4.5 percent in May, the highest on record in 29 months. In May last year inflation was recorded at 2.6 percent.
BAS data for May showed that the average retail price of well-milled rice was P42.19 per kilo, up nearly 20 percent from the same month last year, while the average retail price of regular milled rice was P38.93 per kilo, up 21.5 percent from a year ago.
The BAS said that as of May 2014, rice stocks in households were sufficient for 39 days’ consumption, stocks in commercial warehouses for 21 days, and stocks in National Food Authority (NFA) depositories for 14 days.
Compared to April levels, the BAS said rice stocks in households and in commercial warehouses increased by 11.6 percent and 53 percent, respectively, but stocks held by NFA depositories – 88.1 percent of which is imported — decreased by 10.1 percent.
Year-on-year, stocks in households grew by 10.3 percent while stocks in commercial warehouses and in NFA depositories dropped by 9.1 percent and 23.8 percent, respectively.
Of the current rice stocks, 52.6 percent are in households, 28.9 percent in commercial warehouses and 18.5 percent in NFA depositories, the BAS said.
Meanwhile, corn inventory as of May 1 was pegged at 268,000 MT, or 27.3 percent lower than the previous month’s level of 368,700 MT. However, this was 16.2 percent more than last year’s inventory of 230,800 MT, the BAS said.
Corn stock levels in May 2014 fell in all sectors compared with the April inventories. Corn stocks in households and in commercial warehouses dropped by 46.6 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively, and corn stocks in NFA depositories also fell by 35.5 percent.