Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest sugar consumer, is to issue import permits for 260,000 tonnes of raw sugar, an agriculture ministry official said on Wednesday, as the country looks to increase stock levels for next year. Earlier this year, Indonesia’s trade and agriculture ministries said that despite a shortage, the country would not import the commodity as it sought to refine more sugar in a drive to boost manufacturing.
“The 260,000 tonnes raw sugar will be processed to make up 240,000 tonnes white sugar,” said Agus Hasanudin, director of seasonal crop at the Agriculture Ministry. “The white sugar will be used to fill white sugar stocks for the first five months of consumption in 2013, when there is no sugarcane milling.”
He added that domestic white sugar output was seen at 2.66 million tonnes. Indonesia buys about 2 million tonnes of raw sugar a year, mainly for industrial use and mostly from Thailand, although it shipped in 118,129 tonnes of white sugar last year. This year, the country issued import permits for 240,000 tonnes of raw sugar, of which only 182,000 tonnes was delivered from Thailand before an April deadline.
Last week, Southeast Asia’s largest economy issued import permits for 17,500 tonnes of white sugar to ease domestic price pressures. Domestic white sugar prices in Indonesia hit an all-time high in late June, despite the start of its crushing season in May, and the government had ruled out importing more white or raw sugar for household use.