SUGAR imports for marketing year (MY) 2021/2022 are projected at 100,000 metric tons (MT), according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In a report, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service said the current import estimate represents a downgrade from its previous estimate of 150,000 MT.

“This reflects the decision to not allocate any sugar production to exports; traders will therefore not be allowed to import refined sugar in an export replenishment program,” the USDA said.

The Sugar Regulatory Administration’s (SRA) Sugar Order No. 1 classified all domestic sugar outputs as “B” sugar, intended for the domestic market.

As a result, the Philippines will have zero exports during the marketing year.

“In recent years, the United States has been the sole export market for Philippine raw sugar. Exports to the United States in MY 2020/21 reached 112,000 MT,” the USDA said.

The USDA said Philippine raw sugar production for MY 2021-2022 is estimated at 2.1 million MT, lower than the 2.14 million MT recorded in the previous year. It added that the area planted to sugarcane for the marketing year is 390,000 hectares.

“The decline is attributed to the recently announced La Niña expected in October or November 2021. This coincides with the start of peak milling, when excess water will result in lower sugar recovery,” the USDA said.

In terms of consumption, USDA said sugar demand will hit2.3 million MT, upgrading its previous estimate by 100,000 MT.

“Consumption will modestly increase as the economy recovers from the pandemic, which will drive the food and beverage manufacturers to increase production and sugar usage. As the economy reopens, businesses will resume operations, particularly the institutional buyers such as restaurants and hotels which were severely affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” the USDA said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave