Why sugar prices could go up further through 'ber' months

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 20 2022 01:13 PM

Store clerks attend to customers inside a mini grocery selling snacks and various sweets in Manila on August 17, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Store clerks attend to customers inside a mini grocery selling snacks and various sweets in Manila on August 17, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – Consumers are expected to feel the pinch of surging sugar prices through the Christmas season as demand picks up, members of the retail sector said. 

Criz dela Cruz, the Market Master of Star Market projects, said supermarkets will take advantage of the demand brought by job recovery and employees receiving their holiday bonus. 

"Sigurado pong may pagtaas kasi ang demand, as we discussed, medyo dumagdag pagdating ng 'ber' months so nagte-take advantage ang presyo dahil maraming nangangailangan na i-consume, maraming silang nabibili and ’yung buying power medyo nag-i-increase kasi ngayon may trabaho na tapos Christmas season." Dela Cruz said in an interview with TeleRadyo on Saturday.

For Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association Vice President Liansel Sy, high prices of petroleum may also factor in. Oil prices are set for a P0.40 to P2.80 increase next week, as demand for oil globally starts to pick up. 

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"Tataas pa rin because of the incoming season sa Christmas season. The demand will definitely be higher, and sabi ko nga kanina na tumataas na ulit ang gasolina, so natapos ang [rollbacks] so I think it's gonna follow everything," Sy said. 

Prices of refined sugar surged to as much as P110 per kilo, with major retailers and small businesses alike facing the crunch in prices.

A group of sari-sari store owners also believed this will induce a chain reaction as they get their supply from supermarkets. 

"Hindi naman po kami puwedeng bumaba sa palengke kasi namamasahe po kami. Siyempre ibabawas ang pamasahe. Sa tindahan ang pinaka [patong] po namin is 20 percent," Philippine Association of Stores and Carinderia Owners president Glo Jaradal said. 

Some small businesses such as milk tea and pastry establishments have been compelled to increase their prices, facing the risk of losing customers as the surge in sugar prices affected profits. 

Major supermarket chains such as Robinsons Supermarket, SM Supermarket, and Puregold Supermarket earlier agreed to bring down their sugar prices to as low as P70 per kilogram. 

Authorities are investigating incidents of suspected sugar smuggling, as warehouse owners are being accused of holding off supply to take advantage of the price increase.