Surge in domestic sugar prices sends market soaring

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(File) Photo shows the workplace of sugar mill.

The price of sugar continued to soar in the domestic market amid the low stocks, lack of sugar import, and inflation sparked by the issuance of the new K20,000 notes by the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM), according to the Yangon Region Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Bayintnaung Commodity Centre).
The CBM notified on 23 July that the new K20,000 notes would be issued from 31 July. Before the notification, the price of sugar stood at K3,240-3,280 per viss on 23 July. It rocketed to K3,460-3,500 per viss on 19 August, showing a sharp rise of over K220 in the past four weeks.
With the sugar price on the rise, some companies have reportedly planned to subsidize K200,000 per acre in advance for those new sugarcane growers for the 2023-2024 season. In the 2023-2024 season, new machinery and equipment with better capacity will be installed at the sugar mills. Moreover, sugarcane acre expansion is also expected on account of soaring sugar prices, as per the Myanmar Sugar and Sugarcane Intrepreneurs Association.
Myanmar’s annual sugar production is estimated at 450,000 tonnes. Myanmar earlier sent sugar to China and Viet Nam beyond self-sufficiency. At present, it is delivered to Viet Nam only, said U Win Htay, vice-chair of the association.
Sugar export to China via the border was conducted under the provincial-level Memorandum of Understanding. However, it came to an abrupt stop due to the COVID-19 policy in China. Therefore, the sugar industry called for a government-to-government agreement to legally export sugar to China under quota.
At present, Myanmar’s sugar is shipped to Viet Nam and tax exemption is granted with the presence of the Certificate of Origin. Only three registered Myanmar companies are entitled to sugar exports to Viet Nam so far.
Sugarcane is commonly found in the upper Sagaing Region, followed by the northern Shan State. It is also found in the western and eastern Bago Region, Yangon Region and Mandalay Region.
The sugarcane is grown in December-January. It can be harvested from November to February of the following years. The sugarcane growing rotation cycle lasts four years in Myanmar. — NN/EM

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