EU: Sugar exports soar while prices drop as new regime sets in

Published: 01/29/2018, 7:47:13 AM

The first two months of white sugar exports following the opening up of the European sugar market on 1 October saw volumes soar, as was expected, coupled with a quick 5% drop in European sugar prices, reports Sugaronline.

Overall, traditional import and export volumes are likely to flip, compared to previous years of 1.3 million tonnes of exports and more than 3 million tonnes of imports, data from the European Commission and seen by Sugaronline shows.

Sugar exports passed 322,000 metric tonnes in October, up sharply from just over 100,000 tonnes in September and the highest since before the World Trade Organisation limited exports to 1.3 million tonnes in 2004. At the same time, the average sugar price in October was EUR420 (US$520.7) per tonne FOB compared to EUR441 the month prior.

Data from November is similar to October with more than 308,000 tonnes of exports and an average sugar price of EUR358. Preliminary data for December shows a bounce in exports again to 344,000 tonnes.

For the two months combined, the top three destinations have been Mauritania and Egypt each with 11% followed by Sri Lanka with 10% of the volume.

The European Commission currently estimates sugar exports during 2017/18 will reach 3.2 million tonnes.

Imports have also fallen sharply, with 92,000 tonnes imported in October and 110,000 tonnes in November, during which time imports have averaged 200,000 tonnes per month during the two previous seasons. December was estimated at 165,000 tonnes. About 39% of October and November imports came from EPA/EBA countries, about 36% from South Africa under the new trade and development agreement, just 4% from Brazil and the rest from other origins.

Just 68,000 tonnes and 80,000 tonnes were imported from EPA/EBA countries during October and November respectively.

Total imports for 2017/18 are estimated at around 1.3 million tonnes.