Sugar shock: Market vendors stop selling refined sugar altogether amid high prices, smuggling controversies

·1 min read

As prices of refined sugar continue to skyrocket in light of apparent supply shortages, several vendors at the Balintawak Public Market, one of Metro Manila’s largest public marketplaces, have stopped selling the staple good altogether.

According to a report by ABS-CBN News, the rise in supplier prices, as well as growing consumer complaints have led some marketplace sellers to stop carrying refined sugar in the meantime.

The retail price of refined or white sugar remains at a costly PHP100 a kilogram (US$1.78) as of August 25, based on the latest report by the Department of Agriculture.

Meanwhile, brown sugar is reportedly being sold between PHP68 to PHP70 a kilogram (US$1.21 to US$1.24) in the market while a kilogram of washed sugar ranges from PHP70 to PHP72 (US$1.28).

The government officials have claimed the sugar shortage is “artificial” and has blamed the surge in prices on hoarding done by unscrupulous traders.

The high prices have even led to several reported cases of sugar smuggling. After intercepting some 7,000 metric tons of sugar in Subic aboard a vessel that originated from Thailand earlier this month, the Bureau of Customs also reportedly seized 460,000 sacks of illicit sugar in warehouses in Bukidnon.