AUSTRALIA: QSL moves cautiously on sugar exports
Published: 07/18/2012, 8:03:07 AM
Queensland Sugar Ltd. is moving cautiously with its shipping program in light of a rain-delayed crush and a slow start to sugar production this year, according to Dow Jones.
QSL, which operates a voluntary collective marketing program for most of the state's exports, said it is closely following the wet weather that has affected many in the industry.
"QSL has a conservative early-season shipping program in place and we are being cautious about future sales and pricing," said a company spokesman, who declined to be named. "At this time, we don't envisage any material delay in getting sugar to our customers."
Unusually heavy rainfall along Australia's northeast coast has delayed the start of the annual crushing season.
The widespread rain has significantly disrupted harvesting and crushing in Sucrogen's four milling regions and none of the company's eight mills are expected to resume crushing before next week, a company spokeswoman said Monday.
Sucrogen, a unit of Singapore-based Wilmar International, accounts for almost half of Australia's national output.
The QSL spokesman said the rain has delayed delivery of some sugar to the industry's export terminals, but the changes QSL made to its collective marketing arrangements last year are helping it manage extreme weather events like this.
The company has a large amount of reserves in place that should cover any crop shortfall, he said.
"QSL hasn't imported any sugar to cover any potential crop shortfall and doesn't have any plans to do so," he said.
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences forecast Australia's raw sugar exports to rise this year, underpinned by an expected increase in domestic output.
Exports are expected to rise 12% in the fiscal year that began July 1 to 3.35 million metric tonnes, but their value may fall 10% to A$1.51 billion (US$1.55 billion) due to lower global prices, Abares said in a forecast in late June.
Raw sugar production in Australia, generally the world's third-biggest exporter, is expected to rise 18% this fiscal year to 4.40 million tonnes, due to an expansion in the area harvested and an expected increase in yield after a run of poor seasons, Abares said.