Expect lower sugar retail prices, consumers told

October 18, 2023
The Philippine Star | https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2023/10/18/2304619/expect-lower-sugar...

MANILA, Philippines — Consumers should see lower retail prices of sugar soon to reflect the drop in millsite prices in the current crop year, according to the Philippine Sugar Millers Association (PSMA).

In a statement yesterday, PSMA executive director Jesus Barrera said crop year 2023-2024 started with lower millgate prices of sugar so there should be “downward adjustments in retail sugar prices.”

“There is a lag time for the retail market to mirror lower millgate prices as the sugar moves through the supply pipeline, but nevertheless, there should be market adjustments in the retail prices. Otherwise, the drop in farmgate prices do not trickle down and benefit consumers,” Barrera said.

Based on data from the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), millgate prices last crop year averaged P3,021.04 per 50-kilogram (LKg) bag on Sept. 4 and peaked at P3,798.24 by Oct. 2 of the same year.

Mill site prices closed at P3,000 per LKg last year.

For the current season, SRA data showed the average millsite price stood at P2,825.35 per LKg on Sept. 10 and further went down to P2,702.73 on Sept. 17.

Sugar price at millsite on Oct. 12 showed farmgate average prices sliding to slightly above P2,500 per LKg with only one mill selling at P2,700 per bag.

Overall, the PSMA said that millgate prices in the first six weeks of the current crop year are way below than the last season.

Barrera said millgate prices of sugar dropped amidst an uptick in inflation in September.

The Philippine Statistics Authority recently reported that headline inflation accelerated to 6.1 percent last month compared to 5.3 percent in August, primarily due to a surge in food and fuel prices.

“It is our sugar producers, particularly our small farmers, that are feeling the squeeze from inflation and lower prices, especially now that they are just starting to harvest their crop,” the PSMA said.

Last week, sugar planters in Bacolod urged government to timely calibrate the importation of refined sugar to protect the local industry as the milling season just started but farmgate prices are already depressed.

SRA board planters’ representative David Andrew Sanson said the right time to import is after the milling season.

For this crop year 2023-2024, the milling season started on Sept. 1 and will end by April or May.

Sanson said farmgate prices are dictated by market forces, so when there is more than enough supply in the market, it depresses farmgate prices. — Romina Cabrera