Price of refined sugar soars amid crippling supply woes



FILIPINO consumers may have to shell out more money for their beloved sweets as the price of refined sugar zoomed to P115 per kilogram amid crippling supply woes.

Latest Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) data showed the price of refined sugar in Metro Manila markets as of July 15 was as high as P115 per kg, the third consecutive week that authorities recorded above P100-per-kg price level for the commodity.

SRA data showed the average price of refined sugar in Metro Manila wet markets jumped by P2.43 to P89.93 per kg from P87.5 per kg while average quotation in supermarkets rose week-on-week by P3.57 to P85.47 per kg.

Monetary Board member V. Bruce J. Tolentino said Filipinos should brace for more expensive food products that contain sugar, given the skyrocketing price of the raw material.

Tolentino stressed that local sugar prices have remained higher for a “long time” compared to neighboring countries like Vietnam and Thailand.

“Sugar is an administratively-controlled commodity where the controls are in the sugar growers—that means to protect the sector to the detriment of anybody who consumes sugar including manufacturing,” Tolentino, a former agriculture undersecretary, told the BusinessMirror.

“If you go to Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia there are many products that contain sugar and these food products are very cheap. Sugar is an input in the manufacturing process,” he added.

Roehlano M. Briones, senior research fellow at Philippine Institute for Development Studies, said the country’s refined sugar is now the second most-expensive sweetener in the world next to Oman’s. More remarkably, he noted that Oman imports virtually all its sugar supply while the Philippines grows sugar cane.

Briones proposed that the SRA expand its current sugar import program to allow more stocks to enter the country and temper the rising prices that have been hurting both manufacturers and consumers.

Price monitoring report by GlobalProductPrices.com showed that sugar price in Oman as of March is the most expensive in the world at $2.57 per kg followed by the Philippines at $2.42 per kg.

SRA data showed that as of June 26 about 88,410.30 MT of refined sugar has entered the country under the agency’s 200,000-MT refined sugar importation program that is aimed to boost sweetener supply for industrial and bottlers’ use.

However, SRA data showed the country’s total refined sugar remained 7.41 percent lower at 1.040 MMT, compared to last year’s 1.123 MMT.

The wholesale price of refined sugar has steadily risen since the start of sugar crop year 2021-2022. As of July 15, the wholesale price of refined sugar rose to a fresh record level of P4,249.23 per 50-kilogram bag or about P84.98 per kilogram.

Last week, Agriculture Undersecretary-designated Kristine Y. Evangelista said the DA is exploring options, including the importation of more sugar, to temper the rise in sugar prices.

“The importation of sugar is something the SRA [Sugar Regulatory Administration] is looking into, but we [may] have to come up with a new order to ensure our consumers will have access to cheaper sugar,” Evangelista told reporters in an interview in Quezon City. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/07/19/government-eyes-ways-to-temper-rising-sugar-prices/)

The BusinessMirror reported last month that the country’s sugar stocks will be depleted by August, as demand for the sweetener has outpaced supply due to lower cane production and the delay in import arrivals.

Calculations made by the DA and the SRA showed that the country will run out of refined sugar as early as the last week of July. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/06/29/phl-may-run-out-of-sugar-by-august-sra/).



Source link