SRA urged to check stocks amid drop in millgate prices

April 2, 2019
The Visayan Daily Star |

The Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations Inc. is asking the Sugar Regulatory Administration to look into the slow movement of sugar withdrawals that might be causing the drop in millgate prices by P50 per lkg in the last two weeks, its press release said.

Confed spokesperson, Raymond Montinola, said they are “wondering why appetite for domestic sugar has gone down despite the election season”, as evidenced by sugar stock balances in warehouses in sugar areas.

The sugar stock balances for domestic supply, as of March 17, as per SRA record, was 41 percent more compared to the last sugar crop year of 2017-2018, the press release said.

Recent figures showed that sugar stocks totaled 1,092,763.10 metric tons, with 641,859.35 raw and 450,762.75 refined sugar, versus the 770,854.29 metric tons last crop year, with 515,134.29 raw and 255,680 refined sugar.

“That is an excess over last crop year of 321,948.81 metric tons of sugar in our supply chain,” Montinola said.

Last week, the warehouse of First Farmers Holdings Corp. and Hawaiian Philippine Company was reportedly inspected by SRA and it showed maximum capacity stocking. In fact, these sugar mills are now clearing areas in their district for temporary storage units as they expect slow withdrawal of sugar in the next weeks, Montinola said in the press release.

The same report is noted in both in the northern and southern sugar mills in the province of Negros Occidental, he added.

Composite prices also dropped at farm gate level for raw sugar at P1,450/lkg - 50 kilo bag (P29/kilo) from P1,5000/lkg (P30/kilo) two weeks ago, the press release said.

“We suspect that sugar in the retail market might be coming outside of the domestic production,” Montinola said, adding that this is why Confed recently requested the SRA to consider holding out any sugar importation as there is enough sugar stock balances in the farm gate level as evidenced by their sugar report.

“Should SRA find it necessary to bring in sugar, it must be done in July 2019,” Montinola said, adding that "such sugar imports must be in refined form and will only for the use of beverage companies.”

“Once more, we extend to SRA our cooperation to assist the local food manufacturers to avail of affordable sugar at our sugar mill districts for their ingredients,” he added.*