Drought likely to push up sugar prices

Drought likely to push up sugar prices

Bags of refined sugar on display at a supermarket in Bangkok.
Bags of refined sugar on display at a supermarket in Bangkok.

Domestic refined sugar prices are likely to increase soon as production costs rise based on higher cane prices, which have been affected by drought.

According to a source from the Cane and Sugar Board who requested anonymity, the trend for ex-factory refined prices in the country is an increase of 4 baht per kilogramme, possibly occurring this month.

This increase is expected to be split into a 2-baht hike for higher production costs and a 2-baht increase for the Cane and Sugar Fund, pushing retail prices in the country higher, the source said.

The current ex-factory price for granulated sugar is 19 baht per kg, and refined sugar prices are quoted at 20 baht per kg.

The retail price of granulated sugar is 24 baht per kg, while the price of refined sugar is quoted at 25 baht per kg.

According to the source, if the Office of the Cane and Sugar Board decides on another 4-baht increase, it will result in ex-factory prices for granulated sugar increasing to 23 baht per kg and refined white sugar rising to 24 baht per kg. The retail prices of granulated sugar and refined sugar will follow suit at 28 baht and 29 baht per kg, respectively.

The source said if sugar prices rise, it will have an impact on other products that use sugar cane as an ingredient, particularly beverages including soft drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks, and dairy products, as well as various confectionery and baked goods.

This will further increase the cost of living for people, while the government is trying to reduce living costs and people's expenses in every aspect.

Earlier, the Thailand Sugarcane Planters Association reported that the sugar cane harvest for the 2023/2024 production may fall to just 80 million tonnes, a decrease of about 10% from the previous season, which was estimated at 94 million tonnes, due to water shortages in key production areas.

The country's sugar exports are expected to decrease to 6 million tonnes in 2024, from 8 million tonnes this year.

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