• WB: Rice prices in PH increased 17% from June to October

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    The Philippines incurred a 17-percent increase in rice prices from June to October this year because of numerous “cyclones and typhoon” that crosses the country, the World Bank said in a report.

    In the bank’s Food Price Watch for November 2013, the World Bank said that international food prices are declining by 6 percent but still remained high because of tightening of wheat markets, weather-related concerns in some countries that “drive up” wheat prices during the five months assessment.

    Even for the country, rice prices are going up by “17 percent in monitored markets in the Philippines due to production losses associated with cyclones and flooding.”

    “[But] this price increase in the Philippines does not [yet]reflect the impact of the unprecedented and terribly devastating cyclone Haiyan [Typhoon Yolanda],” the World Bank said, citing that the 17-percent increase in rice prices exclude the now P17-billion worth of agricultural destruction of the super typhoon Yolanda as of press time.

    Rice prices is seen to go up further than the 17 percent as the hard-hit Eastern Visayas—primarily Leyte and Samar provinces—was one of the major producers of rice and corn in the country with total of 984,017 metric tons of rice production and 839,992 metric tons of corn production as per Bureau of Agricultural Statistics 2011 data.

    “Domestic prices showed typically large variations across countries, mainly attributable to seasonal trends but also due to a combination of factors including bad weather, public procurement policies, local supply shortfalls and currency devaluations,” the World Bank said.

    “Weaker demand for imports is also reported in Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria and the Philippines, all large importers,” it added, citing November Market Monitor report in November by Agricultural Market Information System.

    The multilateral pressed weather concerns in declining or uprising of the food prices globally and domestically.

    “However, deteriorating weather conditions and other uncertainties might further affect price trends. Bad weather in South America, Black Sea countries, China and India particularly warrants concern,” the World Bank said.

    In terms of the overall 6-percent decline in global food prices, the multilateral said that it was driven by general grain prices, which were 19 percent lower in October than the initial assessment in June.

    “The price of internationally traded maize fell by 32 percent, with sustained drops in each of the last three months. Prices of rice also fell markedly—but less—between June and October, by 16 percent,” the World Bank said. KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO

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