Sugar imports rise 144pc on low local output

Market News

Sugar imports rise 144pc on low local output

Imported sugar
Imported sugar at the Port of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya’s sugar imports in the first four months of the year grew 144 percent compared with the same period in 2018 following a decline in local production.

According to the Sugar Directorate, imports between January and April stood at 150,302 tonnes compared with 61,516 in the corresponding period last year when and low volumes were shipped in.

The increase in imports was also attributed to low production witnessed during the first quarter of the year where a 14 percent decline was registered.

“Sugar imported in January to April 2019 grew … attributed to low table sugar imports in 2018 due to huge stocks of cheap duty-free sugar in 2017,” said the directorate.

The ex-factory sugar price was at the beginning of 2019 selling at a monthly average of Sh4,082 before dropping to Sh3,868 for a 50-kilo bag in February. However, in April the prices increased to Sh4,591.

“The slight improvement witnessed in April 2019 is an indicator that the market is stabilising as the stock of cheap sugar imports diminishes.

However, the upward trend will largely depend on sugar imports and pricing,” read the report.

Total sugar sales in the review period were 179,186 tonnes compared with 202,484 tonnes sold in the same period last year, which was a decline of six percent.

Total sugar closing stock held by all the sugar factories at the end of April 2019 was 2,371 tonnes against 18,146 tonnes observed in March 2018.

Consumer sugar prices have so far dropped coming as a relief to the households who are currently grappling with high cost of living that saw inflation shoot to a two-month high in March.

A two-kilo packet of branded sugar dropped from a high of Sh230 in January to a low of Sh205.

The decline is also attributed to the release of sugar that had been confiscated by the government during the crackdown on illegal sweetener last year.

The low production of sugar has been attributed to the closure of Mumias and Kwale sugar companies.

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