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NFA hikes buying price for palay

NFA hikes buying price for palay

By Beatriz Marie D. Cruz, Reporter

THE NATIONAL Food Authority (NFA) Council on Monday approved a new procurement price range for palay (unmilled rice) in order to improve the income of farmers, the Presidential Communications Office said in a statement.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. was quoted as saying the NFA Council set the purchasing price for dry palay to P23 per kilogram from the current P19, and for wet palay to P19 per kilogram from the current P16.

The NFA Council is chaired by Mr. Marcos, who is also the Agriculture secretary.

Mr. Marcos said the new palay buying price range was meant to give famers a “better income.”

“So (the farmers) can earn some money. Aside from this, there is the price cap for rice so we can calm rice prices,” he said, referring to the recent rice price ceilings of P41 per kilo for regular milled rice and P45 per kilo for well-milled rice.

However, the NFA Council’s approved procurement prices are lower than initial proposals which sought to raise the buying price of dry palay to P25 and wet palay to P20. The NFA said these original proposals are “too high and will spike retail prices.”

With the new buying price of dry palay set at P23, the NFA said it would need a maximum of P15 billion for the procurement fund.

“If (the buying price) is pegged at P25, P16 billion will be needed for palay procurement,” the agency said.

The NFA is mandated to purchase domestically harvested rice as buffer stock for local shortages and calamities.

The agency said it is also looking into providing physical rice stock to poor households, instead of cash assistance.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it would support the NFA buying price at P23 a kilo. It noted that farmers would be happy with the new buying price, since they are now only being paid P16-P19.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said that NFA procurement will be focused in areas where there is excess supply. “In that case, it can help elevate farmgate price,” he said.

Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura Executive Director Jayson H. Cainglet urged the NFA to “intervene now in areas where prevailing farmgate prices fall below P20.”

“We reiterate that there is no rice shortage, the problem is that the NFA has no buffer stock… which caused traders to increase prices,” he said in a Viber chat.

Bantay Bigas spokesperson Cathy L. Estavillo said the new buying price will make up for farmers’ production costs, which have increased with the recent spike in fuel prices.

Federation of Free Farmers National Manager Raul Q. Montemayor said the government should augment the buying funds of the NFA if needed. The NFA should also set up post-harvest facilities so that it can absorb even freshly harvested palay from farmers, he added.

#NFA #hikes #buying #price #palay

Price growth of NCR construction materials eases in August

By Bernadette Therese M. Gadon, Researcher

BULK prices of construction materials in the capital region decreased by 5.7% year on year in August, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Friday.

Analysts attributed this to favorable base effects, the global economic slowdown, and the high-interest rate environment.

Preliminary data from the construction materials wholesale price index (CMWPI) in the National Capital Region (NCR) showed that prices were lower compared to the 7% figure in August last year. In July, CMWPI increased by a revised 5.7% annually.

This was the slowest growth in more than a year, or since the 5.2% recorded in February 2022.

Year to date, CMWPI averaged 7.1%.

Commodities that saw slower year-on-year growth rates were fuels and lubricants (-6.6% this year compared to 30.3% a year ago), PVC pipes (-5.1% from 9.8%), and reinforcing and structural steel (3.5% from 10.7%).

Meanwhile, G.I. sheet registered a growth of 12.8% to 16.4% in August this year, up from 3.6% a year ago.

Following that were painting works (10.3% from 7.1%) and doors, jambs, and steel casement (5.1% from 2.2%).

Out of the 17 commodities monitored by the statistics agency, 10 saw slower growth.

Retail prices, tracked by the PSA’s construction materials retail price index (CMRPI), also decreased by 1.4% year on year, down from 6.9%.

This was the slowest growth recorded in more than two years, matching the 1.4% figure from July 2021, and the slowest since the 1.2% in June 2021.

Over the first eight months of the year, CMRPI averaged 3.1%.

The following commodities recorded slower growth rates: miscellaneous construction (-0.7% in August 2023, down from 10.9% in August 2022), tinsmithry (2.9% from 9%), and plumbing (0.4% from 7.5%).

The easing trend seen in the past few months as world prices of most base metals slipped on the risk of US economic slowdown and softer economic data seen in China also contributed to slower price inflation of construction, according to Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael L. Ricafort.

“Higher interest rates in the US/globally and locally, after the aggressive Fed rate hikes… effectively increased borrowing/financing costs, thereby leading the slower investments and demand for construction materials,” he said in an e-mail.

The weak outlook on the real estate sector also dampened demand for construction materials, according to China Banking Corp. (China Bank) chief economist Domini S. Velasquez,

“Moving forward, however, we may see an uptick in wholesale prices due to the continued increase in global oil prices, which will likely be passed through to retail prices,” she said in a Viber message.

In the coming months, Mr. Ricafort said that the dollar-peso exchange rate may affect import costs on construction materials; however, the continued increase in infrastructure spending, which accounts for at least 5-6% of gross domestic product (GDP), could support demand for construction materials for the rest of the year.

To recall, second-quarter GDP eased further to 4.3% from 6.4% in the first quarter and from 7.5% in the same quarter a year ago due to government underspending and a lack of election-related spending.

Slower global economic growth likewise dragged down the country’s economic performance.

However, the latest data from the Department of Budget and Management showed infrastructure expenditures reached P507.2 billion in the first half of the year, above the P483.1 billion spending program planned for the period.

“The further reopening of the economy towards greater normalcy, with the final lifting of the COVID state of public health emergency since July 22, 2023, could lead to some pick up in construction and other business/economic activities, thereby could also support demand for construction materials,” Mr. Ricafort said.

“Dry weather due to El Nino conditions expected in [the fourth quarter] will also boost construction activity. On the other hand, downward pressure on prices will likely still come from weak real estate demand from high-interest rates,” China Bank’s Ms. Velasquez said.

#Price #growth #NCR #construction #materials #eases #August

Central bank ready to act as price pressures persist

Central bank ready to act as price pressures persist

THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) stands ready to act as necessary to address any risk to inflation, which is still seen to fall within the 2-4% target range by fourth quarter this year, an official said.

BSP Deputy Governor Francisco G. Dakila, Jr. said inflation will fall within the 2-4% target range in the fourth quarter, barring unprecedented supply shocks. 

“Nevertheless, we continue to see that the risks to the inflation outlook have remained tilted towards the upside both for this year and for next year,” he said during the Philippine Economic Briefing in Dubai on Tuesday.

“The BSP remains ready to respond as necessary to any risks that threaten the achievement of the inflation target.”

Inflation accelerated for the first time in seven months in August, as food and transport costs surged. Inflation rose to 5.3% in August, marking the 17th consecutive month that inflation surpassed the BSP’s 2-4% target.

For the January-to-August period, inflation averaged 6.6%, still above the central bank’s 5.6% full-year forecast.

Mr. Dakila said August inflation was largely due to weather-related disturbances in the country, which drove up the prices of food items such as rice, vegetables, and fish.

“In the absence of further supply shocks, risks continue to lean towards the upside over the near term. Hence, the case for vigilance remains,” he said.

Mr. Dakila said the BSP would like to see inflation go back to within the 2-4% target band before any policy easing is considered due to the need to anchor inflation expectations.

The Monetary Board has paused for a third straight meeting in August, keeping its key policy rate at a near-16 year high 6.25%. From May 2022 to March 2023, the central bank hiked benchmark interest rates by 425 basis points (bps).

“On the BSP’s part, the Monetary Board is set to convene and decide on the policy stance next week, on Sept. 21. As always, our focus remains on ensuring price stability conducive to sustainable and non-inflationary growth,” Mr. Dakila, adding that it will also take into consideration the US Federal Reserve’s next move.

However, Mr. Dakila noted that “the situation is now very different compared from where we were last year, when inflation is still in an upward trajectory.”

“Right now, the focus of the Monetary Board will be on domestic situations. The impact of external factors will be less compared to last year,” he said, adding that the peso has stabilized this year.

The Fed’s next meeting is on Sept. 19 to 20. It hiked borrowing costs by 25 bps at its meeting in July, bringing the Fed funds rate to 5.25-5.5% — its highest level in 22 years. — Keisha B. Ta-asan

#Central #bank #ready #act #price #pressures #persist

DTI says rice price cap may be lifted in 2 weeks

DTI says rice price cap may be lifted in 2 weeks

By Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson, Reporter

THE GOVERNMENT may lift the price ceiling on rice in two weeks when the local harvest starts and more imports arrive, Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said on Monday.

“Within September, we are looking at 2 million metric tons of harvest and some entry of imported rice. So maybe within two weeks we should be able to see whether we can lift the price cap,” he said in an interview with ANC on Monday.

The government has been implementing a nationwide rice price cap since Sept. 5 to address a spike in prices of the national staple amid reports of hoarding and price manipulation by cartels.

The ceiling has been set at P41 per kilo for regular milled rice and P45 per kilo for well-milled rice.

Mr. Pascual told reporters that the price ceiling is needed to prevent a spike in retail prices of rice.

“In the next two or one and a half months, because we already started harvesting, we are looking towards a total harvest of 5 million metric tons and that is from our local farmers,” he said on the sidelines of the Asian Regional Conference in Support of Accelerated Life Sciences Innovation on Monday.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) chief said around 90% of retailers in public markets have complied with the price ceiling.

“Our people actually gave warnings to retailers selling over the price ceiling. But what is important is that we have the supply and that the majority of the (retailers) are compliant,” he added.

Meanwhile, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said that there is a need to ramp up rice production to bring down prices.

“We have had to control the prices of rice because the markets are very volatile, so we are trying to stabilize it here,” he said during a speech at the Mariano Marcos State University in Ilocos Norte on Monday.

“So, it’s correct that we have to increase our production. But we have to make sure that the increase in production redounds to the benefit of the farmer.”

Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno reiterated that the economic team is in “full support” of the price cap on rice.

“We agree with the President that implementing a price cap on rice is the most prudent course of action at the moment to achieve two critical objectives: stabilizing rice prices and extending immediate support to our fellow countrymen,” he said in a statement.

This comes after Mr. Diokno told reporters on Friday the economic team were “surprised” about the announcement of the price cap, as they were in Japan at that time.

Meanwhile, analysts said the government should lift the price cap on rice instead of implementing a zero-tariff policy on rice imports.

“The zero tariff of course will bring down the price of rice, but supply shortage, especially in the aftermath of Indian rice export ban, and increasing local demand will still exert upward pressure on prices,” Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III, coordinator of Action for Economic Reforms, said via Facebook Messenger chat.

“But if the market price still exceeds the price ceiling, despite the zero tariff, don’t expect the exports to come in. So, remove the price ceiling. The price ceiling is not working, based on the stories of rice sellers. It will only exacerbate the shortage. The sooner it is removed, the better,” he added.

The Department of Finance (DoF) has proposed to temporarily slash the 35% rice import tariff rate to 0% or maximum of 10% to “arrest the surge in rice prices.”

Earlier, the Foundation of Economic Freedom (FEF) submitted a petition to the Tariff Commission to reduce the tariff rate on rice to 10%.

Former Agriculture Undersecretary Fermin D. Adriano said that the zero-tariff rate should be implemented until “rice prices stabilize near (to) what they used to cost during normal periods.”

However, Raul Q. Montemayor, national manager for the Federation of Free Farmers, said that the tariff cut will not benefit poor consumers, as most rice imports are premium grade.

“And there is no guarantee that importers and traders will pass on any tariff savings since they know that well-off consumers can afford to pay higher prices,” he said in a Viber message.

Mr. Montemayor said that reducing the tariff to 10% could result in a tariff loss of P9 per kilogram, which translates to a “potential decline in palay (unmilled rice) prices of P6 per kilogram.”

Meanwhile, the temporary reduction in tariff rates and toll fees could lower retail prices and alleviate inflationary pressures, ING Bank N.V. Manila Senior Economist Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa said in a Viber message.

“This, however, may have an impact on domestic producers. This could be more market oriented and introduce less distortion to the market for food,” he added.

Apart from the tariff cut, the DoF is asking toll road operators to temporarily exempt trucks transporting agricultural goods from paying the recently adjusted toll fees.

“I support DoF’s position on exempting trucks from further toll fee increases so that operators will not raise delivery cost, which ultimately consumers pay through high food prices,” Mr. Adriano said.

Ateneo de Manila University economics professor Leonardo A. Lanzona, however, said that it is “unfair” to only exempt trucks, which favors large traders over smaller ones.

“Furthermore, it would not be fair to ordinary road users engaged in other forms of businesses. Worse, it does not really solve the problem of hoarding and smuggling, and may in fact reinforce it,” he added.

Mr. Montemayor also said that the exemption will not “significantly reduce rice prices or ensure the efficient transportation of rice.”

“The recent toll fee increase for large trucks is only P98 per passage. These trucks carry around 25,000 kilos of rice, so the savings amount to only P0.004 per kilogram,” he added.

The DoF’s proposal also includes encouraging the timely importation of rice by the private sector and fully implementing the super green lane.

“Giving them access to a super green lane will only encourage importers to undervalue their shipments and escape detection,” Mr. Montemayor added. — with Justine Irish D. Tabile

#DTI #rice #price #cap #lifted #weeks

Compliance with price controls on rice estimated at 95% — DA

Compliance with price controls on rice estimated at 95% — DA

SOME 95% of retailers are complying with the price controls on rice, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Thursday.

“As of (Sept. 6) nare-report nating nagkaron tayo ng 95% success rate, which mean na nag-comply ang ating mga retailers (It has been reported that the price controls have had a 95% success rate, indicating that retailers have been compliant),” DA Director for Legal Services Willie Ann M. Angsiy said at a briefing.

Executive Order No. 39, which took effect on Tuesday, imposed a temporary price ceiling of P41 per kilogram for regular-milled rice and P45 per kilogram for well-milled rice as the government scrambled to contain rice prices.

Ms. Angsiy added the DA is continuing to “disseminate information” to non-compliant retailers on proposed subsidies to compensate dealers who will be selling their rice at a loss due to the price controls.

“Mabibigyan din natin sila ng ayuda basta sumunod lamang sila” (We will give them aid if they follow the price cap),” she said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has said that rice retailers will get up to P15,000 in subsidy to cover potential losses resulting from the price ceiling.

Ms. Angsiy said that the DSWD is currently working on the rules governing eligibility for the subsidy.

“But on the part of other government agencies, we are working closely with the local government units. Kinakausap natin ang mga mayor kung maari silang maka-provide ng assistance, (We are speaking with mayors about providing assistance),” she said.

She added that the DA is set to provide logistics services to directly deliver rice from farmers to retailers.

Meron din tayong market linkages, kung sakaling ma-short ng stock ang ating retailers. Siguradong may dadating na stock,” she said. (There will surely be stock because we are connecting producers to retailers).

She added that the DA is working with the private sector to ensure supply until the start of the harvest in October.

“By the end of October 2023, most of the estimated 2.92 million metric tons of palay will come from 15 provinces,” she said. “We assume that will be enough” to address high prices. — Adrian H. Halili

#Compliance #price #controls #rice #estimated

Thai government plans handouts, fuel price cuts to revive economy

Thai government plans handouts, fuel price cuts to revive economy

BANGKOK — Thailand’s new government plans to give each citizen a 10,000 baht ($282) handout, delay debt payments and lower energy prices in a bid to ease the cost of living and boost the economy, according to a draft of a policy speech Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is due to give in parliament next week.

The draft speech was seen by Reuters on Wednesday. Mr. Srettha, who is also finance minister, was sworn in along with his cabinet this week, and will deliver the address to parliament on Monday before his government can officially carry its duties.

“The policy will trigger economic growth … we will inject the economy with cash so that it reaches everyone and creates opportunities for all,” Mr. Srettha said in the draft.

Mr. Srettha’s populist government inherits an economy growing at a pace that is slower than expected, as weak exports and lower investments undercut strength in tourism.

Last month, the state planning agency cut its 2023 GDP growth outlook to 2.5-3.0% from 2.7-3.7% after a weaker-than-expected second quarter. Last year’s growth was 2.6%.

The 560 billion baht ($15.78 billion) handout scheme, which will be paid into the digital wallets of all Thais aged 16 and above, was a major part of campaign that Mr. Srettha and his Pheu Thai party launched ahead of the May election.

In the policy speech draft, the government said it would help farmers and small businesses affected by the pandemic by offering them debt moratoriums. “That will be fiscally responsible and not create moral hazard,” the draft said.

The government also plans to lower the prices of electricity and cooking oil, the speech showed, as well as further promote tourism to bring in more revenue by relaxing visa requirements from specific countries.

Thailand expects to receive about 29 million tourists this year, lower than its 2019 record of 39.9 million arrivals. — Reuters

#Thai #government #plans #handouts #fuel #price #cuts #revive #economy

AbaCore approves to buy back shares amid ‘unwarranted’ stock price decline

AbaCore approves to buy back shares amid ‘unwarranted’ stock price decline

LISTED holding company AbaCore Capital Holdings, Inc. has approved a share buyback program policy, citing an “unwarranted drop” in its stock price.

In a statement on Tuesday, the company said its stock price is “undervalued in terms of the price-to-book value ratio and the income potential of its projects and investments.”

“We are pursuing this buyback program policy because we believe our stock has strong long-term fundamentals. As such, buying back our stock institutes our confidence in the company’s future,” AbaCore Vice-Chairman Antonio Victoriano F. Gregorio III said. 

AbaCore recently sold a property at Brgy. Inosluban in Lipa, Batangas to Eternal Gardens that resulted in a P99.4 million net gain. The company previously sold its Mataas-na-Kahoy properties in Lipa for P108.9 million, which had a gross gain of P70.4 million. 

As a result of the transactions, the company recorded a P384.6 million net income as of August, a turnaround from the P15.5 million net loss in the first half of last year.

AbaCore also bought a property in Silang, Cavite which will be used for any venture with existing or future business partners as part of replenishing its inventory of investment properties.

The company’s board also took note of the progress made with the memorandum of agreement signed with Highsource Prime Building, Inc. to construct various projects at the Montemaria Shrine in Batangas. The progress includes refurbishing the existing hotel at the shrine, building new roads to ensure accessibility to all facilities and opening new restaurants.

Meanwhile, AbaCore said it is looking forward to the potential income from the agreement signed by Pacific Online Systems Corp. with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to build an online betting platform.

Under the agreement, Pacific Online will get 14% of the gross revenues by serving as the PCSO’s exclusive agent. The agreement covers a one-year trial period. AbaCore has a 4.89% stake in Pacific Online.

“This 2023, we are pleased to announce more business ventures across the markets we operate in. We believe these initiatives will solidify our long-term fundamentals and allow us to fulfill our growth prospects,” Mr. Gregorio said.

AbaCore is a holding company that has business interests in tourism, real estate, financial services, and energy.

Shares of AbaCore on Tuesday increased 10 centavos or 8.06% to finish at P1.34 apiece. — Revin MIhkael D. Ochave

#AbaCore #approves #buy #shares #unwarranted #stock #price #decline

NEDA says rice price ceiling is only a ‘temporary measure’

NEDA says rice price ceiling is only a ‘temporary measure’

By Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporters

THE PRICE CEILINGS for rice will only be temporary, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said on Sunday.

“We are confident that the imposition of a price ceiling is only a temporary measure. We expect the rice harvest to commence soon and anticipate that other initiatives will produce the desired result,” the NEDA said in a statement on Sunday.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Friday issued Executive Order (EO) No. 39, which imposes a price ceiling of P41 per kilogram for regular milled rice and P45 per kilogram for well-milled rice.

His office has said illegal price manipulation practices, such as hoarding by “opportunistic traders” and collusion among cartels amid the lean season as well as external factors have caused the “alarming” spike in retail prices of rice.

The NEDA defended the EO, saying it will immediately reduce rice prices and penalize hoarding.

“The imposition of a price ceiling on rice is not a standalone initiative. Law enforcement authorities continue their valiant efforts to crack down on individuals who hoard, excessively profit from, smuggle, or participate in rice cartels,” the NEDA said.

The price ceilings will take effect on Sept. 5 and remain in place until these are lifted by the President.

Latest data from the Department of Agriculture (DA) showed that as of Aug. 30, the retail price of a kilogram of local well-milled rice rose to P47-P56 from P42 a year ago. Regular milled rice ranged from P42-P55, higher than the P38 average a year ago.

“With the upcoming harvest season starting in September and additional import orders already secured, there will also be enough rice for the rest of the year,” the NEDA said.

It noted that rice prices have sharply increased in the last few weeks, which it said is inconsistent with the supply and demand situation.

This implies that some are manipulating the expected impact of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) to depict a shortage at this time,” the NEDA said.

The state weather agency said a moderate El Niño is present in the tropical Pacific, and this may strengthen into moderate to strong towards the latter part of the year. It will also likely persist until the first quarter of 2024.

El Niño increases the likelihood of below-normal rainfall conditions, which could bring dry spells and droughts that could adversely impact climate-sensitive sectors such as water resources, agriculture, energy, health, and public safety.

Meanwhile, economists have warned that imposing price caps on rice could limit the supply of the food staple and force traders to go underground.

The move would also significantly affect rice farmers, who are expected to lower farmgate prices, they said.

While the order may cool prices temporarily, it “may result in the emergence of inefficiencies with regard to supply and demand, which may result in shadow or black-market trading,” ING Bank N.V. Manila Senior Economist Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa said in a Viber message.

Leonardo A. Lanzona, who teaches economics at the Ateneo de Manila University, said the price ceilings on rice can prove disastrous for both farmers and traders.

Traders might hesitate to buy rice from farmers, who will be left with no choice but to cut farmgate prices, he said via Facebook Messenger chat.

“Its immediate effect is to pull down production and reduce supplies in the market,” Mr. Lanzona said.

Raul Q. Montemayor, national manager of the Federation of Free Farmers, said palay prices immediately went down by P3 per kilo in some areas after the order was announced on Friday.

“If the price ceilings are too low, retailers will just stop selling rice instead of losing money or being fined for overpricing,” he said in a Viber message. “Both farmers and consumers could end up losing.”

An artificial control like price capping normally creates a gap between consumer demand and actual supply, said Enrico P. Villanueva, a senior lecturer of money and banking at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, noting that the move will only favor a lucky group of consumers who are able to buy rice at the capped price “while leaving other consumers disgruntled as there is no supply left for them.”

Mr. Villanueva said raw grain buyers may use the retail price for milled rice as leverage to push down farmgate prices.

“Big traders may hoard in response to a price cap,” he added. “The unscrupulous ones may pass off regular rice as premium rice to evade the cap.”

Mr. Lanzona said the price ceiling can only be implemented in the long run if the “government would increase government subsidies and thus reinstate the National Food Authority, which had virtually been defunct in the last few years.”

“The only way to justify these price regulations is to establish that a monopoly exists. While various market failures exist in the rice market, the market is not a monopoly,” he said, noting that the problem seems to be the “huge transaction that allows middlemen and scrupulous traders to jack up the retail prices above the farm gate prices.”

The solution then, Mr. Lanzona said, is to enable more players to engage in the rice market, such as micro, small and medium enterprises and farmers, who can transact directly with the consumers.

Mr. Villanueva, meanwhile, said the government should fulfill its promise of boosting local production and make importation more competitive over the medium term.

“It’s unfortunate that despite the law shifting importation policy from quotas to tariffs, the DA still effectively imposes a quota by setting import volume limits,” he said. “Importation should be free and competing, with market players competitively assessing demand and supply factors.”

The Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) called on the government to cut import tariffs on rice from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to 10% from the current 35%.

“This will have an immediate effect on lowering rice prices. The government can afford to lower rice tariffs because the mandatory P10-billion allocations for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) as stipulated by the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), has already been achieved,” it said.

Citing data from the Bureau of Customs, collections from rice tariffs have reached P16.8 billion as of Aug. 26.

“The government may restore the tariff rates back to 35% when the demand and supply situation stabilizes and if the onset of the harvest season results in falling rice prices,” the FEF said.

The FEF also called on the government to amend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) to increase the farmland retention limit to “an economically viable” 24 hectares.

“Because of CARL, average farm sizes have fallen to one hectare or less. The country needs bigger and better-managed farms to increase agricultural productivity thereby increasing supply and reducing food prices,” it said.

Meanwhile, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said that the price cap could help ease inflationary pressures.

“The latest rice price ceiling will help curb inflation, if implemented well in terms of compliance by market players,” he said in a Viber message.

Headline inflation eased to 4.7% in July, bringing the seven-month average to 6.8%. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said inflation likely settled within the range of 4.8% to 5.6% in August, due to the sharp increase in rice and fuel prices.

The Philippine Statistics Authority is set to release August inflation data on Tuesday.

#NEDA #rice #price #ceiling #temporary #measure