Sep 152014

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Thailand and Vietnam are expected to ship in a total of 500,000 tons of milled rice in the next three months, representing the latest import purchase by the National Food Authority.

In a government-to-government call for tenders held Monday, Thailand—through its Department of Foreign Trade—offered to supply the Philippines 300,000 tons at $475 a ton.

Vietnam—through state-run Vietnam Southern Food Corp. or Vinafood II—offered to cover 400,000 tons but at a higher price of $479 per ton.

Cambodia, through its embassy, also participated but was disqualified.

NFA spokesperson Rex Estoperez explained that Cambodia could not deliver the goods until April next year.

The NFA wants delivery to be made in three tranches—40 percent of the contracted volume by mid-October, another 40 percent by mid-November and the remaining 20 percent by mid-December.

Estoperez said Thailand, having submitted a lower price, may have clinched a contract for its offered volume of 300,000 tons.

He added that, as for Vietnam, it may be able to secure a contract for the remaining 200,000 tons if it could match Thailand’s offered priced.

“These details are still subject to the approval of the NFA Council, which will convene sometime this week,” Estoperez said.

Monday’s proceedings were held following an open bidding held in August, which failed because all offers went above the NFA’s approved budget of $456 a ton.

Government-held stocks had been dwindling continually and remained at less than 15 days’ worth of consumption as of Aug. 1, especially after the NFA revved up the release of its store to 10,000 tons daily from 6,000 tons.

In earlier statements, NFA officials have said this was meant to help bring down retail prices of commercially available rice, which local market watchers said had reached as high as P48 a kilo in recent weeks.

According to the latest market monitor report of the Agriculture Market Information System (Amis), a multi-agency body led by the Food and Agriculture Organization or FAO, the forecast global output of milled rice was eased down by almost one percent to 500 million tons due to worsened expectations regarding harvest in Asian countries including the Philippines.

The Amis added that forecast stocks for the current crop year that lasts until mid-2015 similarly decreased to 179 million tons.

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