October 27, 2008


Philippines' 2009 soymeal imports seen flat to lower



The Philippines expects soymeal imports in 2009 to languish or tumble from an estimated 1.3 million tonnes this year due to weak demand for feed amid global economic turmoil, a senior industry official said on Friday (October 24).


Ric Pinca, director of the Philippine Association of Feedmillers Inc, said he is not bullish on soymeal imports due to economic sentiments.


The Philippines, which purchased 1.7 million tonnes of soymeal last year, buys the commodity mostly from Argentina, the United States and India.


Weak demand from the hog sector, which was hit by swine flu late last year, caused soymeal imports to drop in 2008 with only 1 million tonnes purchased as of end-September, said Pinca.


He however said Philippine importers are not in a rush to buy despite a drop in prices.


Pinca adds that there are still enough stocks to last until the end of the year.


However, he said total imports this year should reach 1.3 million tonnes.


Another problem for local hog-raisers is the continued smuggling of pork and poultry, said Pinca as weak demand is reflected on local feed producers' output.


The country's total animal feed production is expected to fall to around 6.5 million tonnes this year from 7.3 million tonnes in 2007 and 8.65 million tonnes in 2006, Pinca said.


The hog sector, the poultry sector are only buying on an as-needed basis, he said, and nobody is looking forward as "everybody anticipates lower prices."