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MANILA: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has approved the importation of up to 300,000 tonnes of sugar to boost tight domestic supply, the industry regulator said on Wednesday, as the country tries to tame soaring inflation.

The Philippines seeks to import both raw and refined sugar, according to a notice by the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), which Marcos himself chairs as the agriculture secretary. The cargoes must arrive no later than Nov. 30, the SRA said.

Raw sugar output in the crop year ending Aug. 31 is expected at 1.8 million tonnes, 16% lower than the production from the previous season, resulting in a substantial inventory decline, it said. Retail sugar prices have climbed due to limited local supply, adding pressure on inflation that soared to a near four-year high in July, dampening consumer spending in the second quarter.

In June the SRA said the supply situation had worsened, citing crop damage from a typhoon back in December, unfavourable weather and legal issues that had hampered previously-approved sugar importation. The Philippines is not a regular sugar importer, but when necessary it usually buys from Thailand, the world’s second-largest exporter after Brazil.

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