SRA says no to price control for sugar

THE Sugar Regulatory Administration on Thursday  rejected  calls to impose  price control on the  prices of sugar.

SRA  Administrator Gina Bautista-Martin stood firm on her position of letting market forces dictate sugar prices rather than imposing price control.

She said, “Price control is counterproductive and shall be imposed only during times of calamities, emergency situation and if proven that there is price or supply manipulation.  Sugar trading from the farm to the traders is very transparent since bidding of sugar prices is being done in the millsite.”

The Administrator also pointed out that unlike any other commodities, sugar is not heavily subsidized by the government and any price increases of sugar in the millsite directly benefited the sugarcane farmers especially the small ones which comprised the majority of the farmers.

Martin  informed the NPCC during the February 11th meeting that millsite price of sugar started to stabilize and has softened compared to November 2010 prices.  She stressed that millsite prices should be translated to its corresponding retail price level after three weeks.

With millsite prices ranging from P 2,032 – P 2,300 per 50-kilo bag as of January 30, 2011, retail prices in Metro Manila markets by the 4th week of February should be at the range of P 58 – P 64 per kilo of refined sugar.  Wholesale prices in Binondo and Divisoria markets as of February 15th ranged from P 2,700 – P 2,950 per bag of refined sugar which should translate to a retail price range of P 59.00 – P 64.00 per kilo,SRA said.

Martin reported that sugar stocks have started to build up which indicated a more stable price of sugar for this quarter.

As of January 30th production data, refined sugar stocks was 174,733 metric tons which is 19% higher than the previous year’s stock level.  However, she said that at the current world market price level of around 30 cents per pound, retail price of imported sugar at 38%  tariff would be more or less the same level as the locally-produced sugar.-D’Jay Lazaro

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