Philippines warns of sugar shortages due to low production – Markets

MANILA: The Philippines’ sugar shortage has worsened as local production missed forecasts and due to a delay in planned imports of up to 200,000 tonnes of refined sweetener, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said on Wednesday. ).

Raw sugar production in the crop year ending August 31 is now estimated at 1.8 million tonnes, below a previous estimate of 1.98 million tonnes and against an average annual demand of 2.03 million tonnes in the last three crop years, the government agency said.

The SRA cited the lingering effect of crop damage caused by a powerful typhoon that hit plantations in December and unfavorable weather conditions.

The shortage, which has kept sugar prices high for months, adds to inflationary pressures facing the Philippines, with consumer prices rising at the fastest pace in more than three years in May due to high costs. fuel and food.

“Prices have gotten out of control and we are on the verge of running out of sugar,” SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica said in a statement.

Although there are no signs of panic buying or hoarding in the local market yet, shortages and rising sugar prices will be among the main challenges for President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who will assume the portfolio of the Ministry of Agriculture when he takes office in June. 30.

Rachel J. Bradford