USDA sees PHL sugar imports hitting 425K MT

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THE Philippines may import 425,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar in the current crop year 2022-2023, as projected local production remains insufficient to meet the country’s total demand for the commodity.

In its biannual world sugar report, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) revised downward its output forecast for the Philippines from 2 million metric tons (MMT) to just 1.85 MMT. The latest output estimate is just a tad higher than the 1.8 MMT recorded production volume in the previous crop year, based on historical USDA data.

With the lower production forecast, the USDA sees the Philippines’s sugar import volume for the Philippines reaching a four-year high.

The USDA projected that the Philippines will import 350,000 MT of refined sugar and 75,000 MT of raw sugar from the September 2022 to August 2023 period.

The USDA estimated that the country’s total sugar consumption would fall to 2.2 MMT, 4.34 lower than the previous crop year’s 2.3 MMT.

The Sugar Regulatory Administration’s (SRA) pre-mill production forecast for the current crop year stood at 1.876 MMT.

The SRA earlier greenlighted a 150,000-MT refined sugar importation program in the current crop year.

Latest SRA data showed that about 146,000 MT of refined sugar under the said importation program has entered the country already as of November 13.

The country’s lackluster production in the previous crop year due to typhoon damage caused a deficit in supply, pushing sugar prices to record-high levels.

Sugar industry stakeholders earlier pointed out that the anemic pre-mill production forecast of the SRA points to one thing: the need for importation. (Related story: www.businessmirror.com.ph/2022/09/09/pre-mill-output-projectionssignal-more-sugar-imports/)

The country’s sugar production as of November 13 rose by 33 percent year-on-year to 392,637 MT driven by higher sugarcane milled, based on latest SRA data.

SRA data showed that total sugarcanes milled as of the reference period reached 4.682 MMT, 29.11 percent higher than the 3.626 MMT recorded in the same period of last year.

However, despite the higher raw sugar production and entry of imported stocks, the retail price of the commodity remains elevated.

SRA data showed that the average retail price of raw sugar in Metro Manila as of November 11 was at P87.535 per kilogram while refined sugar retail price averaged at P101.86 per kilogram.

Image credits: Nonie Reyes