THE country’s production of raw and refined sugar posted a significant decline at the start of February. In its weekly situation report, the Sugar Regulatory Administration said total raw sugar output reached 927,021 metric tons (MT) as of February 2, a 14.46-percent decrease from 1.085 million MT recorded in the same period a year earlier. In terms of 50-kilogram bags, raw sugar production totaled 18.540 million MT during the reference period, compared to 21.719 million MT in the previous year. Demand of the sweetener also fell to 674,301 MT or by 3.86 percent from last year’s 701,406 MT. Meanwhile, the national production of refined sugar hit 315,171 MT, down 13.50 percent from 364,364 MT in 2018. Its equivalent production in terms of 50-kilogram bags was at 6.303 million MT, compared to 7.287 million MT year-on-year. The demand for refined sugar shrunk by 14.80 percent to 444,677 MT from 521,917 MT. During the reference period, total sugarcane milled reached 10.573 million MT, an 11.28-percent decline from 11.917 million MT in the previous year. The wholesale price of raw sugar was at P1,710 per 50-kilo bag as compared to P1,750 a year earlier. Refined sugar, on the other hand, decreased to P2,250 per 50-kilo bag from P2,300 year-on-year. Retail prices of the sweetener averaged P45 to P50 per kilo as of early February.