Agri dept expects imports to bring down sugar prices to P48/kilo

Prices of sugar may go down to as low as P48/kilo with the expected importation of some 150,000 tons of sugar, an agriculture official said Friday.


Agriculture Assistant Secretary Salvador Salacup said they are now finalizing the guidelines for the duty-free importation of the commodity.

"Tantsa namin ... mga P48 ang pinag-uusapan, depende yan sa presyo sa international market. Ang instruction ni Secretary Yap sa amin, by Tuesday or Wednesday kailangan ma-bid out na yan (Our estimate is that sugar prices may go down to P48/kilo, depending on the prices of sugar in the international market. The instruction of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap is to hold biddings by Tuesday or Wednesday)," Salacup said in an interview on dzBB radio.

He was referring to biddings for the right to import sugar without tariffs.

On the other hand, Salacup said traders expect an early bidding for importation to bring down sugar prices to P49 or 50 per kilo.

The present suggested retail price for sugar is P52 per kilo, amid reports that prices of sugar had gone up to P60 per kilo in recent weeks.

5% rise in pork prices expected

But Salacup advised consumers to brace for a five-percent hike in pork, due to the El Niño phenomenon. [See related article: Filipinos told to brace for higher pork, chicken prices]

"Tingnan namin will be a 5% increase in price because tandaan natin as early as October last year sinasabi na ng magbababoy kulang talaga (We expect a 5% increase in price because pork producers had warned of a supply problem as early as October last year)," he said.

He said they are monitoring the supply situation, although the present price of pork at P170/kilo is still within the price band the department set on November 29 last year.

Salacup also noted prices of chicken had gone down.

He reiterated the government's reassurance there will be no food security problem during the El Niño months.

"Walang pangambahan on that. Ang prices today mukhang stable. We are preparing for any contingency na magkaroon ng epekto ang El Niño sa major and basic agricultural commodities (There is no cause for worry on that. Prices appear to be stable. We are preparing for any contingency caused by El Niño on major and basic agricultural commodities)," he said. - RSJ, GMANews.TV

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