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Analysis Sugar

Europe exports more and imports less sugar

July 10, 2024 - Alex Jurvillier

The sugar prices have dropped slightly in recent days, but overall they have been showing an increase since the end of May. However, not all signals are green for a further price increase. In Europe, sugar imports from Ukraine are expected to decrease now that import duties on sugar will be imposed again this month.

Since the end of June, sugar prices have dropped again. At that time, the London price reached its peak at $598.40 per ton and New York was at $447.54 per ton. Yesterday, the London price was at $560.70 per ton. New York dropped to $443.79 per ton. The bigger picture shows a fluctuating increase, starting from the end of May.

European sugar export and import
The improved sugar production in Europe from the sugar beet harvest 2023/24 is clearly reflected in the European figures on sugar import and export. This comes after the sugar production of 2022/23 fell significantly due to various reasons, including drought. Now, the exports from Europe are in line with the 2021/22 season, and import volumes have returned to normal levels. In total, 1.19 million tons of sugar have been imported by June 16, compared to 2.2 million tons at the same time last season. Exports have increased again and are even above average compared to previous years. The export stands at 1.05 million tons, while the five-year average is much lower at around 600 tons. The United Kingdom is the largest buyer with a share of 16%, followed by Israel with 11%, according to the European Commission.

Europe's sugar import from Ukraine stands at 475,000 tons in the period from October to June 24 this season. Large volumes were also imported in the past months, but this will significantly decrease in the coming months due to new trade rules between Ukraine and the EU. These rules apply to seven agricultural products, including sugar. There is a suspension of exports upon reaching a certain export volume (which has now been reached), as well as tariff quotas, which have been in effect since July 2. This is to prevent an excessive export volume of these products from disrupting the EU market.

More rainfall expected in India
The Indian meteorological department announced earlier this week that the country has experienced above-average rainfall. India is the second-largest sugar producer in the world. Heavy rainfall is also forecasted for the coming week, spread across the country. This could benefit sugarcane production and have a downward effect on sugar prices. On the other hand, the heavy rainfall is causing many problems in the country.

The latest biweekly production figures from the Brazilian sugar association Unica were positive. In the first half of June, nearly 49 million tons of sugarcane were processed in the central-southern region, which is 20.5% more than the previous season. From the start of the season (April 1) to mid-June, production increased by 13.3% to 189 million tons. This could have a downward effect on sugar prices.

Alex Jurvillier

Alex Jurvillier is a market specialist in sugar and cacao at DCA Market Intelligence. He also monitors the milk supply in the most important dairy countries and keeps an eye on developments in food.
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