Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/02/2012 -- BMI View: As an indication of the government's increased focused on the agriculture industry, the Department of Agriculture's budget for 2012 has been increased significantly. The PHP48.7bn (US$1.1mn) is more than 60% higher than the year before.Most of the funds will go into developing and improving rural infrastructure as well as improving on farming infrastructure such as farm-to-market roads and host-harvest activities. BMI believes that this will pose upside risks to production estimates especially for key crops such as rice and also, livestock.
- Sugar production growth to 2015/16: 21.7% to 2.80mn tonnes. Production will be supported by strong demand from the soft drinks sectors. To 2016, BMI is forecasting spending on soft drinks to rise by 47% from its 2011 level to US$1.11bn and spending on confectionery to grow by 12% to US$557mn.
- Corn consumption growth to 2016: 10.68% to 8.0mn tonnes. With around three quarters of corn used as animal feed, growth in consumption will be driven by the expansion of the poultry and pork industries and some consumer demand as the government tries to reduce per capita rice consumption.
- Poultry production growth to 2015/16: 4.3% to 868,300 tonnes. Consumption will be aided by the spread of fast food outlets (which carry a high volume of chicken products) and the increasing popularity of processed meats sold through modern retail outlets as opposed to wet markets where the majority of chicken is currently sold. A greater proportion of the country's needs will also have to be supplied by imports.
- 2012f Real GDP Growth: 3.9% (up from 3.7% in 2011; predicted to average 4.1% from 2011 until 2016).
- Consumer Price Inflation 2012f: 4.4% (up from 3.8% y-o-y in 2011).
- Central Bank Policy Rate 2012f: 4.0% (down from 4.5% in 2011)
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In late 2011, the GPH formally informed the World Trade Organization (WTO) its intention to start talks on extending its quantitative restriction (QR) on rice imports to 2015 as part of its self-sufficiency efforts. Although the Philippines has greatly increased yields over the years and is one of the highest-yielding rice countries in the region, it is still only 42nd out of 91 rice producing countries in global ranking, according to the USDA. We believe that consumption growth, which should keep pace with the annual population growth of 2%, will continue to outstrip domestic supply, forcing the country to remain a net importer of rice. Indeed, we note that even the Department of Agriculture recently acknowledged that the country would still have to rely on imports to meet the buffer requirements by 2013.
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