MANILA, Philippines - The Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) is keeping its sugar production forecast for crop year 2012-2013 at 2.356 million metric tons (MT).
SRA administrator Ma. Regina Bautista-Martin said the sugar industry remains resilient despite the onslaught of Typhoon Pablo and tropical storm Quinta that hit Mindanao and Visayas sugar-producing areas.
As of December 16, 2012, sugar production for the current crop year has already reached 872,978.87 MT, or 37.048 percent of the target production.
This is 27.19 percent higher than the production level in the same period last year.
The increase in production is attributed to early milling, higher rate of crushing, and favorable weather condition in the last quarter of 2012 until the occurrence of the weather disturbances in December.
On the other hand, based on SRA records, sugar withdrawals for domestic demand has been higher compared to last yearâ€™s level at 28.61 percent for raw sugar and 22.80 percent for refined sugar.
SRA is expecting a strong sugar demand for 2013 due to stable sugar prices and the mid-term elections in May 2013.
Martin is also confident that Philippine sugar would continue to be a dollar earner for the country would exports to the US and other markets.
She said shipments under the US Quota program would start this January 2013, while exports to the world had already reached more than 20,000 metric tons.
The SRA deferred the early exportation of US sugar in December because of weak prices of the sweetener.
World sugar supply is expected to have a surplus due to favorable crushing and weather conditions in some of the major sugar producing countries such as Brazil, India and Thailand.
This will put pressure on sugar prices, but the SRA is hopeful that domestic prices would continue to be stable, as shown in price movements over the past months.
â€œThe need to increase productivity and reduce cost of production is even more imperative now,â€ Martin said.
Beginning this month, tariffs of imported sugar traded within the ASEAN region would be lowered to 18 percent, making it more challenging for Philippine sugar to compete with Thai sugar and prevent a domestic glut.
â€œWith import tariffs at 18 percent starting Jan. 1, 2013, we need to be vigilant in assessing the impact of world market situation on local prices,â€ Martin said.