Post Mortem: Rice Price Ceilings (EO 39)
D.O.B.: Sept. 5, 2023
D.O.D.: Oct. 4, 2023
(both at the hand of the President)
Did EO 39 succeed in keeping the prices of rice within the caps — P41/kg for regular-milled, and P45/kg for well-milled—it had set? Draw your own conclusions, Reader. Here are the hard data, as provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority:
Instead of prices going down and staying at the levels of the price ceilings, they did the opposite: they increased substantially over the period during which the caps were in place.
TABLE 1: Average Prices of Rice Varieties in August (before the price ceiling) and September 2023, and price increases (in percent)
Look at column 5: September prices of rice were 15.9% higher than the price ceiling for regular milled rice, and 17.15 higher for well-milled. When compared with the August prices (before the price controls), which actually gives us their inflation rates, column 6 of the table shows us that the increase was 9.7% for regular and 10.6% for well-milled.
Special rice varieties (row 4) were not included among those under price controls. It is interesting to note that their prices did not increase as much as the controlled varieties (column 6), suggesting that the price controls may just have made matters worse.
PSA also reported the compliance of rice retailers with the price ceilings set by President Marcos.
TABLE 2: Compliance: Rice Varieties Sold At Price Caps