What is in this article?:
- Louisiana's 2010/2011 sugarcane harvest faced fewer problems than in recent years.
- Farmers won't have to spend as much prepping fields.
- Sugar price driven by consumer preferences, problems with crops around the world.
Regarding current sugar prices, Viator says “it’s almost like a perfect storm.
“We’ve seen some of the best prices since 1974. But there are some differences. In 1974, many believed the price increase was artificial with a lot of speculation – not a true supply and demand situation.
“The current situation, most economists say, is much stronger because it’s based on true supply and demand. And some issues have come into play. First -- just as with grains and soybeans several years ago when soybeans went to $15 per bushel – India and China, whose populations are massive, has increased per capita wealth to the point where they can afford beef. That meant a need for grain crops to feed the beef.”
If able to afford beef “they can also afford a candy bar and soda. What is happening is countries that used to be net exporters of sugar have become net importers. On a global basis, that’s shifted the world’s supply and boosted price.”
Added to the mix are “some earlier problems with Brazil’s ports, the largest sugar-producing country in the world, exporting sugar. When they have problems at the ports and logistical issues then world sugar prices are affected.”
More recently, reports are that a cyclone hit the Australian sugar industry, the world’s third largest sugar exporter.
“That has people worried about Australia’s output. And then there are weather concerns in Thailand and Brazil. Plus, there were record freezes in the Florida cane industry. With their harvest yet to be complete,
there are some estimates that their production may be reduced as a result. That’s yet to be seen.
“Adding more momentum to the price is the controversial court ruling on GMO sugar beets, which could potentially reduce domestic sugar supply even further.”
For more, see USDA issues partial deregulation for GM-sugar beets.