Philippines' Marcos lifts rice price cap, calls supplies adequate
Philippines' Marcos lifts rice price cap, calls supplies adequate
Philippines' Marcos lifts rice price cap, calls supplies adequate
by DZRH News04 October 2023
FILE PHOTO: Farmers plant rice seedlings that are part of a breeding program for late-maturing varieties, at the International Rice Research Institute, in Los Banos, Laguna province, Philippines, January 18, 2023. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David/File Photo

By Mikhail Flores and Karen Lema

MANILA (Reuters) -Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. lifted on Wednesday an order capping rice prices that the government imposed last month to rein in the rising cost of a national staple, which he blamed on smugglers, hoarders and price manipulators.

The Philippines, among the world's largest rice importers, has adequate rice supply, said Marcos, who is also agriculture secretary.

"As of today, we are lifting the price caps on rice for the regular milled rice and the well-milled rice. We are removing controls," Marcos told reporters on Wednesday after distributing sacks of rice to poor families in the capital region.


The price ceilings, which took effect in September, were meant to protect consumers from what the government described as widespread price manipulation by traders working with industry cartels.

"We don't have a rice shortage. We have enough supply. But because of smugglers, hoarders and price manipulators, supply is crimped and prices soar," he said in a separate speech.

Farmers groups cheered the lifting of the price cap, saying it would stabilise rice prices during the ongoing harvest season and encourage farmers to expand production.

Marcos' decision comes ahead of the release of September inflation data on Thursday, which the central bank expected to be in the 5.3%-6.1% band, well outside its 2%-4% comfort range.


Stubbornly high inflation has dented Marcos' approval ratings, which last month suffered a double-digit drop, an opinion poll showed, the first decline since he won a landslide victory in last year's presidential elections.

(Reporting by Mikhail Flores and Karen Lema; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Gerry Doyle)

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