The Vietnamese Ministry of Trade has revealed that the price of refined sugar has almost doubled over the past year, rising by VND12,000 to VND13,000 (US$0.75 to $0.8) per kilogramme.

Price hikes have been driven by a drop in sugar production and increase in the cost of raw materials. Reports in the local press have attributed these trends to crop damage caused by adverse weather in the recent storm season.

The price of raw materials for sugar production in December was VND30-50,000 per tonne higher than in November, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reported.

It is estimated that in December more than 150,000 tonnes of refined sugar was produced, 20% less than this time last year. The Ministry of Trade predicts that the 2005-6 sugarcane season will only produce 1m tonnes of refined sugar, leaving a shortfall of 200,000 tonnes and forcing the sector to import sugar to meet demand. 

With world sugar prices also rising and hefty import taxes on goods coming into the country, prices look set to rise further still.