Sugar retail, mill gate prices out of sync — millers

October 17, 2023
Business World | https://www.bworldonline.com/economy/2023/10/17/552140/sugar-retail-mill...

SUGAR millers said retail prices are not reflecting the decline of mill gate prices for raw sugar, and questioned why no corresponding “adjustments” have emerged for sugar sold to the public.

While acknowledging the typical lag time for retail prices to adjust to movements in the mill gate price, Philippine Sugar Millers Association (PSMA) Executive Director Jesus L. Barrera said in a statement on Tuesday that “there should be market adjustments in the retail prices.” “Otherwise, the drop in farm gate prices is not trickling down and benefiting consumers.”

PSMA said that the average trading prices for milled sugar declined to slightly above P2,500 per 50-kilogram bag (LKg) on Oct. 12, with one mill selling at P2,700/LKg.

“Overall, our mill gate prices in the first six weeks of the new season are way below (those of) last season,” it added.

Citing the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), PSMA said mill gate prices last year averaged P3,021.04/LKg and peaked at P3,798.24/LKg. The price was P3,000/Lkg at the end of last year.

“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,” Mr. Barrera said.

Headline inflation accelerated for a second straight month to 6.1% in September from 5.3% in August amid a surge in food and transport costs, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The SRA has said that raw sugar was trading below its P3,000 per bag target, with prices between P2,500 and P2,700 per bag.

SRA Administrator Pablo Luis S. Azcona called trading abnormal, with prices fluctuating by P100 or more on a weekly basis.

He added that the oversupply of sugar was a main factor in the decline of trading prices.

The SRA also delayed the release of about 150,000 metric tons of imported sugar to ensure fairer prices for farmers. — Adrian H. Halili

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