PRINTABLE VERSION   EMAIL TO A FRIEND   RSS FEEDS 13:57 UK, 5th May 2017, by William Clarke
Green Pool trims sugar deficit forecast, a touch...

Sugar analyst Green Pool only slightly trimmed its forecast for a hefty sugar surplus next season, as consumption grows only sluggishly despite easing sugar prices.

"Consumption is a major issue for sugar, with global consumption growing only slowly," Green Pool said.

"Some growth is being seen in developing countries, while consumption is actually falling in some developed countries."

Consumption grown slowly

Green Pool forecast the global 2017-18 sugar balance to show a surplus of 4.779m tonnes, down slightly from the 4.716m tonnes surplus forecast last month.

Greenpool trimmed its forecast for the 2016-17 sugar deficit, to 928,000 tonnes, citing increased better-than-expected Indian production, and reduced consumption there in response to high prices.

While production is seen growing by nearly 7% next season, to 188.11m tonnes, consumption is seen rising by about 1.5% over the same period.

Still, Green Pool noted that even this low rate of increase was above the ten-year average, and "picking up slightly from the slump in sugar consumption over the past two years".

The surplus would grow global sugar stocks to 79.69m tonnes.

"Given this, it is not surprising that global sugar prices have fallen back," Green Pool said.

Uncertainty over hurricane damage

The analyst downplayed the damage caused by the recent cyclone across Australia's sugar belt, trimming expectations to 4.60m tonnes, although it warned that the extent of the loss would be hard to estimate until harvest starts next month.

"This is because a lot of sugarcane was knocked over and flooded, and this type of damage is almost impossible to assess until the harvest is underway," Green Pool said.

Green Pool noted that the result of the storm was "a complicated equation," given that areas where the cane was undamaged would have benefited from the accompanying rains.

But Green Pool noted that various national forecasters have the possibility of an El Nino event, which would hurt prospects for the Asian crop next year, at between 40 and 70% likely.

The analyst warned that "with global sugar stocks at relatively low levels, this development needs to be monitored closely".

Brazilian production to rise

Green Pool forecast centre south Brazilian sugar production at 35.5m tonnes next season, 300,000 tonnes higher than its previous forecast, as it cut its forecast for ethanol production.

In comparison the Brazilian crop supply agency Conab, sees centre south sugar output at 35.46m tonnes.

Thai sugar production was seen growing to 11.0m tonnes next season, up from a 10.03m tonne harvest this year that was itself better than many expected "even a few months ago".

Green Pool maintained its forecast for a 20% increase in beet sugar production in the EU following this year's deregulation of the sugar industry, at 18.3m tonnes.

And the analyst warned that a drop in EU sugar prices would be unlikely to boost consumption, given that deregulation will also increase competition from grain-based isoglucose.

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