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MANILA – Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has set price ceilings for rice, his office said on Friday, to keep the cost of the national staple in check and deal with an “alarming increase” in retail prices.

The price ceiling for regular milled rice was set at 41 Philippine pesos (S$0.98) per kilogram, while the price for well-milled rice was set at 45 pesos per kilo, with the mandated ceilings to remain in effect until lifted by the president.

Local and imported well-milled rice are currently sold at between 47 to 56 pesos in the capital region, while local and imported regular-milled are priced at 42 to 55 pesos as of Aug 30, the agriculture ministry said.

Despite a steady supply of rice, authorities have reported “widespread practice of alleged illegal price manipulation, such as hoarding by opportunistic traders and collusion among industry cartels in light of the lean season,” the presidential office said in a statement.

The country is also feeling price pressures from global events like the Russia-Ukraine conflict, India’s ban on rice exports, and unpredictability of oil prices, it added.

Mr Marcos, who is also the Agriculture Minister, earlier this week ordered authorities to double efforts to hunt down rice hoarders and take steps to curb rice inflation, which hit 4.2 per cent in July, the highest since 2019.

The Philippines is one of the world’s biggest importers of the grain and its retail rice prices climbed further last month, with some varieties surging as much as 25 per cent in some markets in and around the capital.

The Philippines’ rice supply for the second half will reach 10.15 million metric tons, of which 7.2 tons is the expected yield from local output. Along with imports and existing inventory, it will allow the country to end the year with stocks good for 64 days of domestic demand. REUTERS Philippine President Marcos sets ceiling on rice prices

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