SUGAR PRODUCTION as of the fifth week of June declined 0.12% year on year, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said.

The agency reported that in the fifth week of June, sugar production was 2.072 million metric tons (MMT), down from 2.074 MMT a year earlier, but higher than the 2.071-MMT target. This is equivalent to 41.447 million 50-kilo bags, compared with 41.498 million a year earlier.

The crop year for sugar starts every September and ends in August.

Demand for raw sugar declined 17.78% to 1.745 MMT.

Total sugarcane milled decreased 8.43% year-on-year to 21.74 MMT.

Refined sugar output fell 10.55% year-on-year to 796,164.05 MT.

The millgate price fell 22.60% to P1,512.50 per 50-kilo bag. The retail price was stable at P45 to P50 per kilo, but was lower from P52.50 to P64, year on year.

Government economic managers have expressed their intention to liberalize sugar imports to help lower high domestic prices and improve the competitiveness of the food industry.

Finance Secretary Carlo G. Dominguez III has estimated that sugar costs are about double the world market price.

The sugar industry has countered that liberalizing imports along the lines of the Rice Tariffication Law puts at risk about 5 million jobs. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang