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False boom in sugar imports

S UGAR imports have ballooned during the first six months of this year, according

to official figures.

From January to June this year a total of 14,197.03

tonnes was brought in, easily outstripping total imports for the whole of 1993,

which were only 9,374.5 tonnes.

The statistics, compiled by the

state-run Kampuchea Shipping Agency and Brokers (Kamsab), also show that during

the first six months of 1993 just 904 tonnes were imported.

The vast

majority of sugar imported into Cambodia comes in ships handled by

Kamsab.

However, one very well informed shipping source denied that there

is a real increase in demand for sugar in Cambodia.

With a primitive

wholesale market requiring good local connections, sugar imports have remained

largely in the hands of Cambodian entrepeneurs, the source said.

"What

happened is that several people noticed that there was some money to be made out

of sugar and they all jumped on the bandwagon at the same time, over- loading

the market," he said, adding "some of them will have got their fingers badly

burned."

The biggest monthly shipment in the last 18 months of 3,416.39

tonnes occured in February this year, coinciding with the Chinese New Year, when

demand is at its annual high.

There are only three large concerns

requiring the commodity; Cambrew, producers of Angkor beer; Apsara, makers of

condensed milk and the Cambodia Beverage Company, which makes soft drinks under

license from Coca Cola.

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