• SRA studying more sugar importation to temper speculation amid tight supply

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    THE Sugar Regulatory Administration is studying the need for more sugar importation to temper speculation amid tightness in supply caused by the prevailing dry spell, Ma. Bautista-Martin, administrator of the state-run SRA, said Friday.

    Preliminary data showed sugar production at 1.94 million metric tons as of March 30, while the country is expected to produce 2.14 MMT of sugar for crop year 2015-16, or 8 percent lower compared to 2.32 MMT in the previous crop year.

    A sugar crop year in the Philippines starts September and ends August.

    To date, the Philippines has shipped 135,508 metric tons to Washington, filling up the regular US sugar quota under SRA’s export replacement sugar. The fifth vessel departed on Maunday Thursday.

    Exports were done during the peak of the production from January to March.

    Only participants of the program are allowed to replace the sugar exported with imports.

    “A total of 96,000 metric tons of replacement-imported sugar have been issued release clearances. The balance of the replacement sugar is expected to arrive in April-May,” Bautista-Martin said.

    Raw sugar inventory (net of transfers to refinery) as of March 20, although lower compared to the same period last season at 617,955 metric tons, is sufficient to cover the average monthly withdrawals for the next three months.

    On the other hand, refined sugar stocks are higher by 11 percent, Bautista-Martin said.

    Millgate prices have remained firm as the market continues to speculate that the supply may be tight toward the end of the crop year as weekly production has started to decline.

    “Speculation is further fueled by the scenario of a delayed milling season by the next crop year, owing to the continued effects of El Niño,” Baustista-Martin said. JAMES GALVEZ

    JG/BF

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