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Russia Sugar Output Seen by Ikar Declining to 4.4 Million Tons

Bloomberg, 29.10.12

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Russia, which started beet-sugar exports last year, will reduce domestic output of the sweetener to 4.4 million to 4.7 million metric tons due to a weaker crop this season, the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies said.

Russia had a record sugar output of almost 5.1 million tons in the last marketing year that ended July 31, according to the institute data.

Drought earlier this year prompted smaller beet yields and the total crop is seen at 41.5 million tons, said EvgenyIvanov, an analyst at the institute, known as Ikar. That compares with 47.6 million tons a year earlier, he said, citing the Federal State Statistics data. Excessive rains in the country's south in August and September washed out sweetener content in the roots, which will lower the sugar output from the beets, Ivanov said by phone in Moscow today.

Farmers will reduce beet planting in favor of grains and oilseeds to about 1 million hectares (2.47 million acres) for the 2013 crop, down from 1.14 million hectares planted for the 2012 crop, Ivanov said.

Russia's sugar consumption is seen at 5.5 million tons in the 2012-13 season that started Aug. 1, exports may be 150,000 tons or less, and imports of white sugar are seen at about 280,000 tons, or the same as in the preceding season, Ivanov said.

Imports of the raw sugar are expected to be at least 350,000 tons, he said. "Imports depend on actual beet-sugar production and will be just enough to cover domestic needs in the sweetener," Ivanov said. Last season, Russia imported 438,000 tons of raw sugar, according to Ikar data.

Farmers harvested 31.7 million tons of sugar-beets from 73 percent of the sown area by Oct. 26, Agriculture Ministry data show. Yields dropped to 38.18 tons a hectare from 38.33 tons a hectare a year earlier, the ministry said on its website last week.

Last year, Russia shipped more than 300,000 tons of sugar, according to Agriculture Ministry data.

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