RP traders seek only 27,630 tons of rice

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 11 2008 12:03 PM | Updated as of Jun 11 2008 08:03 PM

Reuters

Private traders sought to import only 27,630 tons of rice into the Philippines out of a maximum quota of 200,000 tons at a tender on Wednesday despite world prices for the staple coming down from record highs.

The National Food Authority (NFA), the Philippines' grain importing arm, is likely to award all the bids to the successful private groups, said Conrad Ibanez, the assistant NFA administrator.

The NFA has said it will hold tenders on June 11, 20 and 27 for the 200,000 tons of rice on offer. The remainder from each auction will be carried forward to the next tender.

The Philippines, the world's biggest rice importer via the NFA, has pulled out all the stops to source more supplies of the grain this year and is trying to encourage more private traders to purchase the grain from overseas.

The usual import tariff of 50 percent was waived but the government will impose a service fee. There was a price cap of $1,200 per ton cost and freight but the private importers would have to settle prices themselves with overseas suppliers.

Each private sector participant can import a minimum 25 tons to a maximum 5,000 tons as long as they pay a service fee of at least 2 pesos per kilogram of rice.

Last month, the NFA itself scrapped a tender to buy 675,000 tons of the grain saying it wanted to wait until international prices drop.

Rice prices nearly tripled over the past year due to export curbs by producing nations and heightened demand from importers such as the Philippines. But they have climbed off recent highs as supply constraints have eased.

Benchmark Thai rice prices fell to about $830-850 per ton FOB last week from a high of about $1,050 in late May.