Board allays concerns over sugar supply

A farmer harvests his sugar cane crop.

Thai authorities are scrambling to ensure an adequate supply of sugar in the country amid concerns over huge exports expected as world prices rise.

World sugar prices are under scrutiny after India, the world’s largest sugar producer and second largest exporter after Brazil, decided to limit its sugar exports, said Ekapat Wangsuwan, secretary general of the Office of the Cane and Sugar. Board (OCSB).

India has imposed a restriction on sugar exports for the first time in six years, capping the amount at 10 million tonnes to prevent a spike in domestic sugar prices.

“World sugar prices are currently hovering around 19-20 cents per pound and prices tend to continue to rise,” Ekapat said.

Sugar prices on the world market rose after Brazil, the world’s largest sugar producer, started using more sugar cane as a raw material for making ethanol, because ethanol has a margin higher profit than that of sugar, despite the surge in world oil prices.

Brazil, also the world’s second largest producer of ethanol, used to blend benzine for fuel.

The OCSB is confident that Thai sugar exports will not increase significantly even if world prices rise, as state measures are in place to prevent a shortage of sugar in the domestic market, it said.

“Thailand has prepared enough sugar to serve consumption in the country,” Ekapat said.

“The 2021-22 campaign sugar cane production is high, standing at around 92 million tonnes, compared to 66.7 million tonnes in the last campaign.”

The increase in sugar prices on the world market has also resulted from the current energy price crisis and rising commodity prices, driven by the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war, Narathip Anantasuk said. , head of the National Federation of Sugar Cane Planters and head of the Zone 7 Sugar Cane Planters Association Office.

“The ex-factory price of white sugar in Thailand is 17.25 baht per kilogram and the price of refined sugar is 18.25 baht per kg,” he said.

Thai sugarcane growers are watching fertilizer and labor costs, which have risen and threaten to affect the sugar industry, Narathip said.

Rachel J. Bradford