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Russia May Have Record Sugar Exports to Tap Tighter World Market

Bloomberg, 20.09.19

(Bloomberg) -- Russia may produce a record amount of sugar, boosting export availability at a time when the global market is shifting into a deficit.

Output in the 2019-20 season may rise more than 10% to as much as 6.8 million tons, leading to record exports of at least 1 million tons, according to the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies. The consultant raised its production estimate from about 6.4 million tons after early harvesting of beets showed better-than-expected yields and sugar content.

“We had no weather anomalies in any of the growing regions,” Evgeny Ivanov, an analyst at the company known as IKAR, said by phone. “A record is possible if the weather cooperates further and harvesting ends before frost.”

Russia’s sugar industry has seen a big transformation in the past two decades, swinging from being the world’s top importer of raw sugar to having excess supplies to offload. An expected bigger exportable surplus in the 2019-20 season comes as the world market is forecast to move into a shortage after back-to-back surpluses.

Still, Russia may find it hard to compete in the export market because it isn’t as efficient at processing as other suppliers, meaning its costs are higher. It mostly exports the sweetener to Central Asian nations, such as Kazakhstan.

IKAR’s production estimates include output from the reprocessing of sugar syrup and molasses.

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