Manila. Philippine grain traders have purchased just over 53,000 metric tons of rice from Thailand and Vietnam in recent weeks, looking to boost supply in the wake of typhoons that destroyed local crops in the last quarter of 2016, the government said on Thursday (12/01).
The shipments, comprising 41,464 tons from Thailand and 11,580 tons from Vietnam, were part of the 90,760 tons covered by import permits the state grains agency National Food Authority (NFA) issued before the end of 2016.
The NFA is expected to issue more import permits for traders to bring in rice from Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and India over the next few weeks.
Rice stocks in the Philippines, one of the world's biggest importers of the grain, in December stood at 3.34 million tons, covering 98 days of consumption, down 3 percent from the year before, the country's statistics agency said.
The NFA has the authority to import another 250,000 tons of rice via government-to-government deals, in addition to the 250,000 tons it bought in August from Vietnam and Thailand.
A decision will be made later this month whether additional purchases should be made sooner rather than later, said Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo, who represents the central bank in the NFA Council, a government panel that approves rice importation.
Timely rice importation in 2015 and 2016 helped temper domestic inflation despite crop losses from typhoons, the government has said.