COMMODITIES: Sweet and Sour

Sweet and sour news greeted the nation's sugar lovers last week. The palatable side: after 20 months of dizzying, nonstop rises (TIME, Dec. 9), wholesale sugar prices dipped slightly. Major refiners, including Amstar Corp., the nation's biggest producer, and SuCrest Corp., pared the cost of a 5-lb. bag of sugar by 25¢, to $3.48. The sour news is that despite these reductions, supermarket prices are likely to continue rising for weeks before they decline or even stabilize, because the recent rapid series of wholesale boosts—seven in the five weeks prior to last week—have not yet come close to working...

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