The Philippines may import more rice this year as local traders are expected to increase their purchases from Vietnam, according to the latest estimate from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The USDA has also projected that Bangladesh will overtake the Philippines as the world’s second-largest buyer of rice this year.
In its latest monthly global grain situation report, the USDA revised upward its rice import forecast for the Philippines this year by 200,000 metric tons (MT) to 2.3 million metric tons (MMT) from its previous estimate of 2.1 MMT.
The USDA hiked its import forecast due to the “strong pace and large purchases from Vietnam” by Philippine rice traders and importers.
Despite the projected increase in the country’s rice purchases this year, the estimate is still 145,000 MT lower than the 2.45 MMT the Philippines imported last year, USDA data showed.
The USDA also revised upward its rice import forecast for Bangladesh this year to 2.4 MMT, higher than the Philippines’s purchases.
The USDA said Bangladesh is poised to import more rice this year on the back of “lower import tariff, high internal prices, and continued tender activity.”
In 2019, the Philippines became the world’s largest buyer of rice after it imported a record volume of 2.9 MMT, based on USDA data.