EGYPT – Egypt has extended its ban on sugar exports for another three months in a bid to address a domestic supply shortage that has driven prices to record highs.  

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, led by Minister Ahmed Samir, announced the extension, citing the need to ensure “an adequate supply of sugar for the nation’s consumption.” 

This decision follows a challenging period for Egypt’s sugar market. By the end of 2 2023, sugar supplies had diminished from stores, causing prices to surge.  

The broader context of Egypt’s ongoing sugar crisis, characterized by soaring market prices reaching EGP 50 (US$1.62) per kilogram, compounds the challenges faced by essential commodities.

Despite government measures, including subsidies, initiatives to reduce prices, and temporary export bans, sugar prices remain significantly higher than the targeted EGP 27 (US$0.87) per kilogram.

The Ministry’s extension of the export ban, initially imposed in December 2023, reflects a preventative approach to stabilize the market. Ministerial Resolution No. 88/2023 allows for sugar exports only when domestic needs are fully met.  

Egypt’s annual sugar production falls short of domestic consumption, with production at 2.8 million tonnes and demand at 3.5 million tonnes, according to the Egyptian National Agriculture Library. 

To bridge this gap, the government has secured a supply of sugar beet for its sugar factories. The Holding Company for Food Industries is overseeing the cultivation of 600,000 feddans of sugar beet across various governorates during the current season. 

Egypt’s sugar shortage is just one facet of a broader problem – high inflation. The country’s inflation rate reached a staggering 36 percent in February, driven largely by rising food and beverage prices, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).

This marks a significant increase from the previous month’s rate of 31.2 percent and 32.9 percent for the same period last year. 

The Egyptian government is grappling with the inflationary pressures partly fueled by the ongoing war in Ukraine. The conflict has disrupted global food grain supplies, particularly wheat, making it harder for Egypt to secure essential imports.  

The country’s foreign currency shortages have impacted its ability to import necessities and manage its landed prices. 

 

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