THE national average retail price of well-milled rice in early April was P57.03 per kilogram (kg), the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said in a report.

The average price was up from the P56.95 recorded between March 15 and 17, which the PSA refers to as the second phase of the month.

The highest retail price in the first phase was reported in Central Luzon, averaging P59.18 per kg during the period.

At the low end during the period was Ilocos Region with rice prices averaging P50.37 per kg.

The PSA reported that regular-milled rice averaged P51.39 per kg, up from P51.21 per kg during the first phase.

The highest price for regular-milled rice was recorded in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, with an average of P54.70 per kg.

Cagayan Valley posted the lowest price for well-milled rice at P46.69 per kg.

The Department of Agriculture has said that the retail price of rice is expected to remain elevated until midyear due to the impact of El Niño.

Meanwhile, the PSA said that brown sugar averaged P76.37 per kg, a 0.4% increase from the previous period.

The PSA reported that brown sugar prices were highest in Calabarzon at P88.3 per kg during the first phase of April.

The lowest average price was reported in the Caraga Region at P69.47 per kg.

The PSA reported that the national average retail price for refined sugar was P87.29 per kg.

For the first phase of April, prices in Calabarzon were the highest with sugar averaging P96.56 per kg.

Prices for refined sugar were also lowest in Zamboanga Peninsula, where they averaged P81.43 per kg. — Adrian H. Halili