Prices of cooking oil, sugar down

Published by rudy Date posted on March 16, 2011

MANILA, Philippines –  The retail prices of sugar and cooking oil are going down despite the rising cost of petroleum, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

During the hearing of the National Price Coordinating Council (NPCC) yesterday, it was reported that sugar prices have gone down to P58 per kilo from P62 per kilo. The price of cooking oil in long-necked bottles will also go down by P10.

In the next few weeks, the retail price sugar is expected to go down to P52 per kilo from P54 per kilo because the milling of sugar is in full swing.

Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said the demand for sugar has gone down also because of consumption of sugar substitutes.

The expected full year demand was at 2.1 million metric tons but was downgraded to 1.7 million metric tons. Local production of sugar stands at 1.95 million metric tons.

The price of cooking oil is expected to go down because of the decline in copra prices in the world market from P65 per kilo to P55 per kilogram. Cooking oil in long-necked bottles retails at P78 to P80. Prices will go down further to P40 range next month, possibly triggering a new round of price decreases. Despite the reductions, cooking oil prices this year is still high compared to the retail price of P28 last year.

Bread prices, on the other hand, are expected to be stable in the next three months because of steady supply and decreased demand. Japan, which is devastated by a tsunami caused by a strong earthquake, is the second biggest importer of wheat in the world.

Domingo said the destruction in Japan will not affect food supply in the country because the Philippines has limited food imports from the devastated super power.

The government, however, is assessing the impact of the calamity to Philippine exports.

Agriculture Undersecretary Salvador Salacup said Philippine imports to Japan are mostly mackerel, which is caught in Japan’s tropical waters, far from the areas affected by the tsunami. Other imports are apples and ginger.

The country’s total agriculture imports from Japan is estimated at US$105 million. The Philippines does not import many food items from Japan because of the steep prices.

Exports to Japan on the other hand, amount to $400 million annually, representing five percent of the country’s $38 billion agriculture export annually. Produce such as bananas, pineapple, tuna, seaweed, asparagus, and okra were exported mostly to Tokyo, which was spared from the tsunami. –Ma. Elisa Osorio (The Philippine Star)

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