SRA reports softening of sugar prices as imports arrive
Sugar prices have been softening since last week as more imports started arriving in the country, data from the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) showed.
This is the first time that sugar prices, both for wholesale and retail, have gone down since January when prices started rising steadily.
A shortage in supply, aggravated by market speculations, drove local sugar prices up by as much as 42 percent early this month compared to year-ago level.
As of last week, SRA’s price monitoring report showed that the average wholesale price of raw sugar declined by 7.6 percent to P2,126 per 50-kilogram bag (LKg) from P2,288 early this month. The prevailing retail price of raw sugar also went down by 10 percent to P50 a kilo from P55 a kilo.
The average wholesale price of washed sugar—often used by the confectionery industry—declined by 6.8 percent to P2,280 per LKg from P2,435 per LKg earlier this month, while its prevailing retail price went down to P52 a kilo from P59 a kilo.
Refined sugar—often intended for bottling companies—registered the lowest reduction in prices.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol admitted there was a shortage of this variety but clarified that other sugar varieties were sufficient to meet domestic demand.
Compared to prices in the early week of June at P2,968 per LKg, it only declined to P2,808 per LKg. Prevailing retail prices for refined sugar, however, went up by 1.5 percent to P65 a kilo from P64 a kilo.
In a phone interview, SRA board member Roland Beltran attributed the drop in sugar prices to the weekly arrival in the country of imported sugar starting last week.
Of the 200,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar to be imported, half would be allocated for the purchase of bottlers’ grade refined sugar, while 50,000 MT would be used for standard grade refined sugar. The remaining 50,000 MT would be used for direct consumption.
All shipments are expected to arrive no later than September, which is the start of the new crop year for sugar.
“The arrival of the imported sugar will definitely stabilize sugar prices for the domestic market,” Beltran said.
“We are hopeful that sugar prices will remain competitive, reasonably profitable to the planters and fair to consumers as we enter the new crop year for 2018-2019,” he added.
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