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Russia Beet-Sugar Output Seen Falling by Ikar on Cold

Bloomberg, 24.10.14

Russian beet-sugar production may fall to 4 million metric tons this season, the lowest in four years, as rains and unusually cold weather hamper the harvest, according to Ikar.

That may boost imports of raw cane sugar to 1.25 million tons later in the season that started Aug. 1, Yevgeny Ivanov, an analyst at Ikar, or the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies, said today by phone from Moscow. That would be the highest since the 2.48 million tons shipped into the country in 2010-11, when high temperatures damaged crops, according to Ikar. Russia’s production, which was 2.74 million tons that year, reached 4.37 million tons last season.

“We are seeing a lot of rainfall and an early arrival of frosts,” Ivanov said. “There’s risk that it will be impossible to harvest.” Rains hinder vehicles from driving on fields, and low temperatures make the soil too hard to dig, he said.

The Agriculture Ministry pegs domestic beet-sugar production at 4.8 million tons this season, according to a report on its website. Farmers dug sugar beets from 83 percent of the planted area by today, the ministry said in a separate statement.

Ivanov cited the Bashkortostan and Tatarstan republics as among the areas where collecting beets will be difficult. Daytime air temperatures in those areas will fall below zero degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) tomorrow and will stay around those levels through Oct. 28 at least, according to Russian state weather agency Rosgidromettsentr Rossii.

Russians probably will consume 5.72 million tons of sugar during the season, Ivanov said.

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