Brazil sugar harvest expected to start late
Dubai, February 7, 2012
Global sugar supplies will be tight before the next harvest of top producer Brazil, which is likely to start later than normal to allow time for sucrose to develop in cane, a leading sugar analyst said.
But the market would have to absorb a sizeable surplus as new-crop supplies appear, Jonathan Kingsman told Reuters TV in an interview, speaking on the sidelines of the Feb. 4-7 Kingsman Dubai sugar conference.
"The tightness could last until June/July on both the raws and the whites (refined sugar)," Kingsman, managing director of Lausanne-based Kingsman SA, said.
"The market is going into a surplus situation with the start of the new Brazilian crop," he added.
Brazil is by far the world's biggest sugar producer and exporter. Harvesting in the centre-south of Brazil, the main growing region, usually starts around April.
Kingsman is expected to give forecasts for the global sugar balance on Tuesday as the conference wraps up.
He said the harvest in the centre-south of Brazil, the main growing region, was expected to start late to allow cane more time to build sucrose content.
Senior sugar traders attending the Kingsman event have said they expect 2012/13 cane output in the centre-south of Brazil to stand at around 520 million tonnes after just over 490 million in 2011/12.
They said ageing cane plants and the need for big investments to renovate the cane was slowing down the recovery in cane output.
Adverse weather, including sporadic frosts, also contributed to last year's production setback in Brazil.
"We expect it (centre-south cane harvest) to start a week or so later than last year, and last year it was already two weeks later (than normal)," Kingsman said.
Kingsman said the weather in recent weeks had been generally favourable to cane development, although there were some concerns over a lack of sunshine inhibiting accumulation of sucrose in the cane.
"The weather has been pretty good. We think that the crop will be edging upwards rather than downwards," he said. – Reuters