Sugar inventory at ‘all-time high’–SRA

April 7, 2019
Jasper Y. Arcalas (Business Mirror) |

The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said over the weekend that any increase in the retail price of sugar is caused by traders who want to manipulate the market as the country’s inventory of the sweetener is at an “all-time high.”

SRA Administrator Hermenegildo R. Serafica said there is no reason for sugar prices to go up since sugar stock balance is at 1.152 million metric tons (MMT) as of end-March. The volume is 44 percent higher than last year’s stock balance of 800,587.75 metric tons (MT), SRA data showed.

Serafica also explained that mill-gate prices of sugar have been hovering between P1,450 per 50-kilogram bag to P1,550 per LKg in the past five months.

He attributed the increase in stocks to better output and the remaining volume of unused imported sugar, which stands at 133,500 MT.

“There have been very little withdrawals in the mills such that all of their warehouses are full and most of them are already preparing additional spaces for storage. Some have rented additional warehouses while some have repurposed their other buildings such as basketball courts to hold sugar,” he said in a statement.

“Those who are spreading rumors of sugar prices increasing are trying to manipulate the market so they can increase their profits at the expense of the consumers and producers,” Serafica added.

The country’s sugar output as of mid-March expanded by 14.48 percent year-on-year to 1.662 MMT, according to the latest data from the SRA.

SRA data published on April 1 showed that raw sugar output in the current crop year 2018-2019 is already 211,000 MT over the 1.45 MMT recorded in the same period in the previous crop year.

Figures from the SRA indicated that the higher output may have been driven by higher volume and better-quality sugarcane milled from September 1 to March 17.

During the period, sugarcanes milled reached 17.732 MMT higher than the previous year’s 16.836 MMT.

Also, the sugar-milling recovery rate as of March 17 rose by 8 percent to 1.89 50-kilogram bags per ton cane (LKg/TC), from 1.75 LKg/TC a year ago.

Total raw sugar demand as of March 17 declined by 17.70 percent to 1.002 MMT, from 1.218 MMT a year ago, SRA data showed.

Domestic withdrawals fell by 2.49 percent to 967,188 MT from 991,920 MT recorded in the same period of 2018.

SRA data also showed that refined sugar output grew by 3.46 percent to 28,048.66 MT, from 27,110.21 MMT.

Millsite prices of raw sugar declined by 4.72 percent to 1,451.31 per LKg from the previous year’s 1,523.16 per LKg.