Egypt raises price of subsidised sugar again to offset rising costs

Bassem Abo Alabass , Tuesday 31 Jan 2017

Harvesting sugarcane in Upper Egypt
Harvesting sugarcane in Upper Egypt's Qena (Photo: Bassem Abo Alabass)

Egypt’s supply ministry has increased the price of the subsidised sugar sold through ration cards by 14 percent to reach EGP 8 per kilogramme, the ministry’s spokesman Ibrahim Amer told Ahram Online on Tuesday.

“The new price - which goes into effect tomorrow - reflects the rise in costs due to the liberalisation in the [pound's] exchange rate and the government's raising of supply prices of sugarcane [bought from] farmers,” Amer explained.

The new pricing will come into effect as of Wednesday, Amer said.

In November, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) floated the pound and raised key interest rates as part of a set of reforms aimed at alleviating the dollar shortage, eradicating the black market and stabilising the country's flagging economy.

Following the flotation, the government raised the supply price paid to farmers for one tonne of sugarcane from EGP 400 to EGP 620, while the ministry increased the price of subsidised sugar by 40 percent to be sold at EGP 7 per kilogramme.

Egypt has been facing a shortage in sugar supplies since September, as the foreign currency crisis crippled imports.

According to the ministry, 71 million people use the government's ration cards to buy essential food goods at subidised prices.

Earlier this month, the ministry said that it has received over one million tonnes of sugarcane and beets from domestic farmers, which will be converted into refined sugar and injected into the market in February.

This quantity of sugarcane and beets should provide the market with 2.4 million tonnes of domestically-produced refined sugar.

To further alleviate the shortages, the government imported 120,000 tonnes of sugar from Brazil and France.

Egypt consumes more than three million tonnes of sugar a year.

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