It seems that this year's solution to the rice problem is at hand. With the Philippines having imported 80% of its required 2.5 million tons (approx), Vietnam's pledge to supply 1.5 million tons and Thailand's recent commitment to sell rice to the Philippines whenever needed, the country should not have any rice shortage for the entire year. Speculators in the world market will also be forced to bid much lower should the country call for new tenders. During the last public bidding, the Philippines was forced to buy at more than $1,000/metric ton, a huge jump from the overvalued $700/MT that it paid for prior to that. What is left now is for the country to increase its rice harvests, lead the people to become less dependent upon it and manage population growth to lessen the demand to produce more food.
As for the ForEx, the dollar continued to climb and closed at P43.45. With its rise seemingly unstoppable for now, let's hope that analysts are accurate when they predicted the value to stabilize somewhere at $44. Let's further hope that it will happen soon. For this day, expect the banks to sell dollars somewhere between P43.90 and buy it at P43. I still am curious to hear what those blaming the government for the past two years decline in the dollar have to say.
In regard to Petroleum, the government finally listened to well meaning advice and scrapped the import duties for crude oil. This is projected to reduce the pump prices of gas by 50 centavos per liter. Let's hope that the government will listen further by scrapping the value added tax on the pump prices as well. The projected 50 centavos/liter decline can easily be wiped out with a single day's hike in world oil prices.
In regard to the Meralco controversy, Raul Palabrica talks about what really happens in most stockholders meetings in Rehearsed meetings. Let's see what will transpire during Meralco's May 27 showdown with government representatives and hope that the end result will be good for the Philippines.