Despite the government’s lack of interest in growing commodity prices, the sugar price at Jodia Bazaar, the country’s principal wholesale commodities market, increased to Pakistani currency (PKR) 136-137 per kg from Rs 131-132 a few days ago, owing to an export-driven jump in demand, Dawn reported.
Wholesale costs have risen by Rs 19 per kg in less than 20 days, according to wholesalers and retailers, as speculators and hoarders have taken over the market. According to the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) for the week ending July 13, sugar retail prices in Karachi were hovering at Rs 138-150 per kg, up from Rs 128-135 the previous week ending June 22, according to Dawn.
Country-wide sugar prices had also surged as the national average rate of sweetener rose to Rs 135-150 per kg from Rs 124-140 some 20 days back.
Wholesalers jack up rates by over Rs 19 in three weeks. Retailers said sugar prices would cross Rs 150 per kg in case of any further jump in wholesale rates next week, Dawn reported.
However, retailers, holding old stocks purchased at lower rates, are now cashing in on the situation by charging higher prices from the consumers.
The sugarcane support price is reportedly being increased to Rs 450 per maund for the new season, translating to about Rs 135-136 per kg. The market has already started picking up on this wholesale price.
According to the data of Large-Scale Manufacturing, sugar production during FY23 fell by 15 per cent to 6.7 metric tonnes from 7.907 metric tonnes, Dawn reported.
A commodity importer said that Afghanistan was not lifting sugar from India and Brazil. Now Pakistani sugar is finding its way into Afghanistan through informal channels.
Pakistan exported sugar at an average rate of USD 484 per tonne. Export from February till to date stood at 214,789 tonnes (USD 104 million).