‘Bangladesh to dislodge PHL as world’s second-largest rice importer’


The Philippines may import more rice this year as local traders are expected to increase their purchases from Vietnam, according to the latest estimate from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA has also projected that Bangladesh will overtake the Philippines as the world’s second-largest buyer of rice this year.

In its latest monthly global grain situation report, the USDA revised upward its rice import forecast for the Philippines this year by 200,000 metric tons (MT) to 2.3 million metric tons (MMT) from its previous estimate of 2.1 MMT.

The USDA hiked its import forecast due to the “strong pace and large purchases from Vietnam” by Philippine rice traders and importers.

Despite the projected increase in the country’s rice purchases this year, the estimate is still 145,000 MT lower than the 2.45 MMT the Philippines imported last year, USDA data showed.

The USDA also revised upward its rice import forecast for Bangladesh this year to 2.4 MMT, higher than the Philippines’s purchases.

The USDA said Bangladesh is poised to import more rice this year on the back of “lower import tariff, high internal prices, and continued tender activity.”

In 2019, the Philippines became the world’s largest buyer of rice after it imported a record volume of 2.9 MMT, based on USDA data.

The USDA has also revised upward its estimate for the Philippines’s rice imports next year to 2.2 MMT, from the previous forecast of 2.1 MMT due to “higher consumption” as the staple “remains competitive against the increasing price of wheat.”

This will make the Philippines the world’s second-biggest buyer of the staple next year, behind China which is projected to import 4 MMT of rice.

The BusinessMirror earlier reported that the Philippines has approved the importation of 3.844 MMT of rice as of end-August, but arrivals are less than half of the volume applied by traders and importers.

Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) data showed that the agency approved 4,091 sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance for rice imports from January to August, corresponding to a total volume of 3.844 MMT.

The volume for the eight-month period was 2.86 percent lower than the 3.737 MMT approved by the BPI last year.

The government is targeting to expand the country’s unmilled rice production by 5 percent to a record 21 MMT next year on the back of its P55-billion investment in the rice sector.

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