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Sugar export halt causes worry

Update: February, 08/2014 - 10:07
Workers package sugar at Pho Phong Sugar Factory in Quang Ngai Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Dang Lam

HA NOI  (VNS) — The Viet Nam Sugar and Sugarcane Association (VSSA) announced concern over sugar stocks following the Ministry of Industry and Trade's (MoIT's) order to temporarily cease refined extra (RE) sugar exports.

In a document sent to northern Lao Cai Province from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and VSSA last month, MoIT will only allow the export of 200,000 tonnes of refined standard (RS) sugar through the province's Ban Vuoc border post by the end of this June.

The export of RE sugar will be resumed after ensuring that domestic demand is met.

However, the VSSA told the online VnEconomy newspaper that the sugar inventory at Vietnamese sugar factories was estimated at around 311,900 tonnes, while the inventory at the association's commercial companies was more than 13,400 tonnes.

MoIT has allowed 10 businesses to export sugar, but the names of the companies and their export quotas have not been received, the VSSA's vice chairman Do Thanh Liem was quoted as saying.

The sugar industry will have to pay storage costs for the food processing businesses if they are not allowed to export their RE sugar, and this could bring difficulties to the sugar companies, Liem said.

He added that the ministry will also allow 77,000 tonnes of sugar to be imported – mainly RE sugar – by the end of June. This would make the RE sugar stocks even larger.

Domestic sugar prices have dropped sharply to VND13,000 per kilo because of a slowdown in sugar exports before and after the Tet holiday, Nguyen Hai, the VSSA's General Secretary pointed out.

RE sugar stocks are currently very high, and it has been forecast that the country's total sugar productivity this year will be 1.5-1.6 million tonnes (of which RE sugar would be around 600,000 tonnes) not including the current inventory, Hai noted.

He said the ministry's requirement to limit the export of RE sugar would lower the product's price. — VNS


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