PHILIPPINES CONTINUES RICE-SUPPLIER SEARCH

PHILIPPINES CONTINUES RICE-SUPPLIER SEARCH

The Philippines is identifying more sources for rice imports to help this country through September, but there still isn't enough to fill the quota.

The shortage of rice arises from a prolonged dry spell that depressed production. Philippine production in the second quarter fell as much as 50 percent below normal in several growing areas.The National Food Authority has been authorized to import 300,000 metric tons, but only 225,000 tons has been sourced so far, Conrado Ibanez, assistant director, said last week.

The first 7,300 tons from Thailand arrived this week out of a contracted

purchase of 100,000 tons. The rest of the shipment from Thailand and supplies

from India, Vietnam and China are expected to land beginning next week, he told The Journal of Commerce.

The Philippines is paying $312 a ton for supplies from Thailand, the world's largest rice exporter, with a permitted broken content of 35 percent. The last shipment date is Aug. 31.

Vietnam's 30,000 tons was priced at $297.25 a ton with 25 percent broken and a last shipment date of Sept. 7.

India is supplying 25,000 tons at $285.50 a ton and 35 percent broken allowance for shipment by Aug. 15.

China will add 40,000 tons at $318 a ton with 25 percent or better broken content by Aug. 30.

The Philippines will pay cash for the Thai imports after a local fertilizer manufacturer rejected a government proposal for countertrade. A similar deal was completed in 1993.

In 1993, the country was forced to import 200,000 tons from Thailand due to a prolonged dry spell caused by the so-called El Nino phenomenon. It brought rain to dry areas of South America and drought to usually wet southern Africa, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Rising incomes in the Philippines, which consumes all of the rice it produces, have propelled consumption to 19,000 tons a day from 18,600 tons in 1994. The country expects to produce 11.5 million tons of unmilled rice this year, up from 10.5 million in 1994.