Economy in brief: Ministry issues raw sugar import permits in Q2

The Jakarta Post: The Trade Ministry has passed import permits for sugar refiners to buy 945,643 tons of raw sugar for the second quarter of this year. The figure is much higher than the 672,000 tons allocated for the first quarter ending in March.

The ministry’s import director, Thamrin Latuconsina, said on Wednesday that the higher amount was given to allow refiners to meet stronger demand for refined sugar from the food and beverage industry, which had geared up production ahead of Ramadhan and Idul Fitri — slated to consecutively fall in June and July.

“In deciding the quota we took consumption during the festivities into consideration,” he said in a text message.

Thamrin further said that despite the higher permitted imported amount compared to the first quarter, the quota was only 60 percent of the 1.58 million tons recommended by the Industry Ministry.

A high raw sugar import quota is feared to drive excessive refined sugar production, which could lead to leakage in the end-consumer market.

The spill of refined sugar usually pushes down the price of the white sugar made from sugarcane planted by local farmers.

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