Philippine Rice Prices Surge Despite Increased Inventory Levels

Growth in rice inventory

Beginning in January this year (2024) rice prices experienced a notable surge despite an increase in overall inventory, as reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

According to PSA data, the country’s rice reserves saw a substantial 6.9% growth on January 1, 2024, reaching 2.03 million metric tons. This reflected a 9.6% rise compared to the same period the previous year when stocks were at 1.85 million metric tons.

Of the total rice stocks, nearly half were held at the household level or by farmers, amounting to 1 million metric tons, while commercial stocks, managed by traders and importers, stood at 978,000 metric tons.

Contrastingly, the National Food Authority (NFA) reserves were at a minimal 48,680 metric tons, only sufficient for a two-day national requirement. NFA rice stocks witnessed a 14.8% month-on-month decrease and a substantial 57.6% drop compared to the previous year.

PSA data indicated a 1.4% month-on-month increase in household stocks, although there was a 7.7% decline year-on-year. Meanwhile, commercial rice stocks experienced a remarkable 50% year-on-year increase and a 14.8% month-on-month rise.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. had previously applied pressure on traders and importers to accelerate rice imports in December, threatening to revoke import permits within a 30-day period.

Rise in rice prices

Despite the growth in inventory, rice prices continued to follow an upward trajectory.

In January 2024, the average wholesale price of regular milled rice reached P46.60 per kilo, marking a 1.7% increase from December’s P45.83 per kilo.

Year-on-year, this represented a significant 32.7% increase, as the average price in January 2023 was only P35.11 per kilo.

Similarly, the average wholesale price of well-milled rice increased by 1.5% to P49.96 per kilo, which was 28.6% higher than January 2023’s P38.28 per kilo.

Special rice followed a similar trend, with an average wholesale price of P55.11 per kilo in January 2024, marking a 1.8% month-on-month increase and a substantial 19.1% jump.