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Russia cuts sugar exports, but shipments may rise in new season - analyst

Reuters, 21.08.19

MOSCOW, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Russia cut its white sugar exports sharply in the twelve months to July 30, but may lift them significantly in the new season due to weak domestic prices, IKAR, one of the leading agriculture consultancies in Moscow, said.

The country has doubled sugar output over the past ten years to reduce its reliance on imports and began exporting a couple of seasons ago, mostly to nearby former Soviet republics.

Russia cut white sugar exports to 234,000 tonnes in the 2018/19 season from 504,000 tonnes a year before, according to IKAR, excluding supplies by road to neighbouring countries which share a free customs zone with Russia.

The drop in exports was driven by high domestic prices last autumn, IKAR sugar analyst Evgeny Ivanov told Reuters on Wednesday.

Current weak sugar prices will favour export growth this season, and if prices remain relatively low, Russia may export 1 million tonnes of sugar in the 2019/20 season, Ivanov added.

IKAR's price index for white sugar from southern Russia was at $357 a tonne last week, down from $554 in early October 2018.

Ivanov's estimate is based on Russia's production forecast of more than 6.4 million tonnes, consumption of 6.0 million tonnes, imports of 300,000 tonnes from Belarus and domestic stockpiles of about 500,000 tonnes.

Subject to market conditions, exports may be even higher.

"Technically Russia is able to ship more than 1 million tonnes to traditional markets. This, of course, would require stress from the entire infrastructure, but Russia is in principle able to do so," he said.

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