SRA bares attempts to manipulate sugar prices

MANILA — Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) chief Hermenegildo Serafica said there are some sectors trying to manipulate the market by spreading rumors that may lead to higher retail prices of sugar.

“There is no reason for sugar prices to go up since sugar stock balance is at an all-time high of over 1.1 million metric tons (MT) that is 143 percent of last year’s stock balance during the same period,” said Serafica in a statement.

Also, the mill gate prices of the commodity have been holding steady between PHP1,450 to PHP1,550 per 50-kilogram bag for the past five months.

“I have been going around inspecting sugar mills’ warehouses and traders’ warehouses and many of the imported sugar have not been used. In fact, over 133,500 MT of imported have not been withdrawn from the warehouses,” said Serafica.

“Those who are spreading rumors of sugar prices increasing are trying to manipulate the market so they can increase their profits at the expense of the consumers and producers,” he added.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) earlier said the agency will be monitoring the prices of sugar following reports that the prices of sugar went as high as PHP68 per kilo compared to the usual price range of PHP50 to PHP55.

“DTI continues to monitor sugar. We have included that in our list. And we insist that price of sugar should only be at PHP50, maximum at PHP55 per kilo,” said DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo.

She said the agency will also be issuing notices of violation to retailers selling sugar above the allowed retail price.

“The DTI, in our efforts to help the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the SRA, we (will) issue notices of violation, actually, to retailers selling sugar at a higher price than PHP55,” she added. Lilybeth Ison /PNA –