World Sugar prices slide, poised for recovery

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Global sugar prices have hit rock bottom, but are expected to make a recovery in the months ahead.

Jose Orive, the group’s executive director, International Sugar Organization (ISO), said this at the 36th International Sweetener Symposium holding in Asheville, North Carolina.

“The world is still suffering from high accumulated stocks that will need to be absorbed by the market before we can see any improvement on price,” he stated.

Orive’s optimism is based on the production from big sugar suppliers appears to be declining, which will let stocks fall.

He warned that there are factors that could quickly change the outlook.

“Weather could provoke production variations, while consumption growth is declining as the war against sugar continues,” he said.

“Government policies will continue, mainly for political reasons.” 

Global outlook

Brazil, the world’s biggest exporter, has seen production fall rapidly since 2017/18.

Production by the second biggest exporter, Thailand, is also down as farmers switched to alternative crops.

Europe, another major producer and exporter, has also devoted fewer acres to beet production this year.

But a U.S sugar industry official said the global sugar market is the most distorted commodity market in the world because of subsidies.

“Today’s low prices are a result of these subsidies, and any bullish signals can be quickly undone by government intervention,” he stated.

“U.S. farmers are highly efficient, and we want to operate in a free market, but that cannot happen until all countries set aside their subsidies and let a real market form,” he added.