LAHORE: Sugar prices have recorded a jump of Rs 5 to 5.50 per kg during the last five days in Akbari Mandi, the biggest wholesale market of the province, as the sugar mills are not allowing lifting of the commodity to the dealers.
President Lahore Sugar Dealers Association Asghar Butt, talking to Business Recorder here on Saturday said that the ex-mill rates of the sugar reached Rs 5400 to Rs 5500 per kilograms from Rs 4800-4900 per 100 kilograms till the end of July. He claimed that rates surged because the mills had put an unannounced ban on loading for the next 10 days.
He added that the dealers could not lift sugar from the mills despite an upward surge in its prices. He claimed if the mills continued this ban, there might be a severe shortage of the commodity in next two to three days.
Another sugar dealer Hamid Akmal also expressed his concern over the situation. He said the market received some sugar from the investors who had bought the commodity and saved it somewhere else. Seeing the increase in prices, they brought their commodity to the wholesale market but it could not meet the supply from the sugar millers.
It may be worth mentioning here that the PSMA on Tuesday issued a statement after a meeting that there were ample stocks of sugar available which was sufficient to cater the needs of the country till February 2018. It further said that there was a consensus in the meeting that till these stocks were not disposed of in the market, mills would remain in liquidity crisis and starting of the next crushing season would not be possible.
The PSMA spokesman said the cost of sugar produced at government notified rate of sugarcane i.e. Rs 180/40 kg is not viable to export sugar, keeping in view the high cost of production and depressed world market. He said if current situation prevails, it was feared that mills will not have the ability to procure sugarcane at anything more than Rs 120/40 kg. However if subsidy as requested by Pakistan Sugar Mills Association is provided, the surplus stock will be exported.