New SRA board expects refined sugar prices to stabilize by November

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 20) — The new Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) board expects the prices of refined sugar to stabilize in two months.

"Hopefully by November once all the imported refined (sugar) comes in, we should see a stabilization on the prices," acting SRA administrator David John Thaddeus Alba said in a briefing on Tuesday.

He was referring to the importation of 150,000 metric tons (MT) of refined sugar, which was approved by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. last week through Sugar Order No. 2. 

Alba said the cost of refined sugar by November may range from ₱70 to ₱80 per kilo, way below the prevailing price of ₱95 per kilo, based on the Department of Agriculture's latest monitoring.

Pablo Luis Azcona, the representative of sugar planters in the SRA board, noted there are still other factors that may affect pricing, like the cost of production and transportation.

Milling for the 2022-2023 crop year started early this month.

As of Sept. 4, the country has around 134,000 MT of raw sugar and around 143,000 MT of refined sugar, the acting SRA chief said. Weekly demand is around 6,200 MT and 6,800 MT for raw and refined sugar, respectively.

Alba said the country still has a tight supply of sugar, but it is enough to meet local demand. Still, he said imported sugar is needed as a stopgap measure.

Maria Mitzi Mangwag, who represents sugar millers in the SRA board, said two refineries have already started their refining process. She expects all refineries to operate by November to ensure enough refined sugar for industrial users -- or manufacturers that use refined sugar in their products -- and consumers, as well as wholesalers and traders engaged in selling sugar in bulk to retailers.

The SRA expects sugar production for the current crop year to reach 1.87 million MT, while domestic raw sugar withdrawal may be around 2.03 million MT.

"Barring another typhoon or whatever, like (Typhoon) Odette, the canes are looking good. Hopefully, if the trend continues, we will have more sugar than what we estimated," Alba said.