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Philippines eyes higher rice imports in 2014

Publication Date : 29-04-2014


The Philippines is expected to import this year an even bigger volume of rice at two million tonnes even as the government is still expected to award contracts for 800,000 tonnes.

According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS), the latest forecast was 600,000 MT higher than the previous month’s projection.

The American agency said in a report that total global rice trade forecast in calendar year 2014 remained at a record 40.9 million tonnes, partly due to Philippine importation.

“Export forecasts were raised for Guyana, Pakistan and Thailand, but lowered for the United States and Vietnam,” the ERS reported.

The ERS also revised downward the import figures for China by 200,000 tonnes to 3.2 million tonnes and for Afghanistan by 40,000 to 160,000 tonnes. Lower figures were also pencilled in for Sub-Saharan nations in Africa, including Angola, Guinea, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

“These reductions were nearly offset by several upward revisions,” the agency said. “First, the Philippines’ 2014 import forecast was raised 0.6 million to 2 million tonnes.”

This revision comes as the bidders await a decision from the Philippine government related to contracts for a total of 800,000 tonnes that the National Food Authority is importing.

Earlier this month, two Vietnamese state-owned suppliers submitted the lowest bids for the contracts, for which the NFA has a budget of some P17.18 billion or $381.8 million.

Out of the nine groups that expressed interest in the bidding, six submitted bids with five having been accepted.

Based on the bidding terms, the total purchase volume is divided into four lots of 200,000 MT each of 15-percent broken long grain white rice. A bidder can offer a volume of as little as 100,000 MT, which means that up to two suppliers can win one lot.

Vietnam Southern Food Corp. or Vinafood 2 offered tenders for all four lots. Its bids for three lots appeared to be the lowest at $437.75, $439.25 and $441.25, respectively.

Vietnam Northern Food Corp. or Vinafood 1 pursued two lots only, but its price offers were for four batches of 100,000 MT each.

NFA spokesperson Rex Estoperez said in an interview that the bidders would still have to go through a post-qualification process, “which is mainly authentication” of the documents they submitted.



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