(Sugar Regulatory Administration logo)

(Sugar Regulatory Administration logo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Sugar output in the Philippines, a key United States supplier, has hit the government forecast of 2.45 million tons for the current crop year that ends in August and production in the next year is likely to be higher, the industry regulator said.

“As of now, we’re still looking at 2.5 million metric tons for the next crop year, assuming normal weather conditions,” Butch Alisla, a senior official at the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), said.

Domestic raw sugar output as of July 20 totaled 2.446 million tons, less than 1 percent below the 2.461 million tons produced in the same period in the previous crop year, SRA data showed.

Two sugar cane mills were scheduled to restart and produce around 5,000 tons before the crop year ends this month, said Alisla, chief of staff of SRA Administrator Regina Bautista-Martin.

The Southeast Asian country is a minor player in the international sugar market but has been one of the largest U.S. sugar quota recipients.

Exports to the United States had reached more than 91,000 tons as of July 20 and were expected to rise to more than 120,000 tons before the crop year ends, Alisla said. The Philippines had initially been given a 136,000 ton allocation under the U.S. annual quota program.

Shipments to other markets totaled 128,170 tons as of July 20, compared with exports of more than 141,000 tons the year before, SRA data showed.

Last month the U.S. Trade Representative re-allocated unused portions of its tariff-rate quota for imported raw cane sugar for the 2014 fiscal year, with the Philippines getting an additional 14,199 tons of the reallocated 99,290 tons.

In June the SRA was forced to re-allocate some of the country’s sugar stocks intended for export to replenish domestic supplies and halt price increases that had added to food price inflation.

Super Typhoon Haiyan lashed cane-producing provinces in central Philippines last November, destroying an estimated 50,000 tons of sugar. (MNS)