Manila awaits new round of sugar imports – DA official

The Philippines is gearing up for another round of sugar imports as domestic stocks are forecast to be depleted by the end of August, according to a Department of Agriculture (DA) official.

Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Christine Y. Evangelista, who has been appointed, said the Sugar Regulatory Authority (SRA) is set to meet with sugar industry stakeholders this Friday to discuss the supply situation.

Evangelista said the meeting’s agenda will include the SRA’s proposal for additional sugar imports and the introduction of a suggested retail price for both domestic and imported sugar.

As for the volume of purchased sugar imports, then, according to her, it will be discussed at the meeting.

Evangelista said additional sugar imports would meet the needs of industrial consumers and households.

“We will need to identify the needs of both industrial users and households,” she told reporters in an interview on Wednesday. “Our current supply of sugar is very, very scarce. This is still not enough, but our direction is still looking for [new] import order for sugar.

Evangelista said additional imports should arrive by next month to ensure the country has enough sugar supplies.

“Imports should arrive before the end of August. In terms of timing, it is our premise to ensure that we have additional stock by the time our current inventory is depleted.”

Citing the latest SRA estimates, Evangelista said the country’s current stocks of refined sugar will be depleted by the end of August.

The SRA previously forecast that refined sugar stocks would last until this week, while raw sugar would be depleted by the first week of August. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/06/29/phl-may-run-out-of-sugar-by-august-sra/)

Evangelista said imported sugar under the import program approved by Sugar Order (SO) 3 has begun to flow in and increased local supply of sugar.

SRA data showed that 139,075.9 tons of a total of 200,000 tons of SO 3 imported refined sugar arrived in the country.

“The remaining sugar stocks until August will be entirely for home consumption,” she said.

Evangelista said current sugar prices will remain elevated. “We will see price spikes in August this year, or prices will simply remain stable. But at the moment it is very unlikely that they will come down unless we have more supplies than we can bring prices down.”

“That’s why we have to speed up [new] sugar order. We are rapidly tracking stakeholder engagement so we can move forward with recommendations.”

The latest SRA data showed that the price of refined sugar in the markets of Metro Manila as of July 15 reached 115 pesos per kilogram. Sugar prices rose above 100 pesos per kg for the third week in a row. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/07/25/price-of-refined-sugar-soarsamid-crippling-supply-woes/)

Previously, sugar industry players called on President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. immediately appoint SRA officials who will take the necessary steps to stabilize sugar prices. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/07/15/pbbm-urged-to-name-sra-board-amid-rising-sugar-prices/)