By Carlos Mera, Rabobank

As the world grapples with major economic and geo-political changes, we have predicted that food prices – which like all commodities are influenced by such forces – will remain low during 2017.

We believe the fundamentals support that view: while the spectre of inflation stalks some economies, stock levels of food commodities are at record levels, applying some downward pressure to prices. Many of these reserves are held by China. Therefore, what action the world’s most populous country takes in 2017 will have profound repercussions for everybody else. Read more

Sweet news for Mexico’s sugar exporters: the government’s anti-obesity campaigns mean exports are booming.

According to data from the government’s sugar development committee, Conadesuca, exports reached nearly 866,000 tonnes between October and January. By any measure, that’s a huge leap from the previous year – the highest for that period in the previous five years was 366,000, and in the same period in 2013, it was 365,165. Read more

Africa’s sugar industry will become all the sweeter if predictions about its growth come off.

Edward George, head of soft commodities research at Ecobank, tells beyondbrics he expects that even though domestic demand is rising, Africa will become a net exporter of sugar within seven years if it boosts production as planned, depriving Brazil of a key export market. Read more

Indian sugar companies are rejoicing after the government finally lifted its curbs on sugar supplies.

India’s food minister, KV Thomas announced on Thursday evening that there will no longer be an obligation on Indian sugar mills to sell their produce to the government at concessional rates and there will no longer be a limit on the quantity they can sell on the open market. Read more

Students pour sugar into a coffee, as they learn about western diet in Chinese vocational schoolA mysterious white substance is being smuggled over the border from Vietnam to China in growing quantities.

But it is not quite as illicit as you might think. Sugar, the sweetener added to everything from mooncakes to ketchup, is increasingly in demand in China due to urbanization, changing diets and rising incomes. Read more

A significant step in Cuba’s long march to market-orientated economic reform is about to begin next week, when a unit of Brazil’s Odebrecht reopens a shuttered sugar mill in the southern province of Cienfuegos.

Sugarcane was an icon of the island’s economy both before and after the 1959 revolution, but since the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba has dropped out of the Premier League of the world’s sugar exporters. Read more

Finding any good news about Brazil on Monday was a struggle.

Economists cut Brazil’s GDP 2012 forecast for the tenth straight time to 1.9 per cent, the stock market fell as much as 2 per cent after the dismal IMF report on global growth, and a gruesome bus accident killed at least ten people in the southern state of Paraná.

However, Brazil’s old friend, the commodity market, did offer some brief reprieve from the gloom. Read more

sugar cane







Louis Dreyfus Commodities on Friday said it would raise up to $550m from the flotation of a stake of its Brazilian sugar unit, the latest sign that the publicity-shy commodities trading houses are moving to the public domain.

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Most people in Bangkok right now are too busy sand-bagging their homes to worry whether they’ll be sugar available for their morning coffee, but that risk is, unsurprisingly, very much a concern of Thai sugar executives.

Mitr Phol, Thailand’s largest sugar producer, on Wednesday launched a takeover bid for Australia’s MSF Sugar (MSF:ASX), a move which will allow the Thai group to expand in Asia and make sure its sourcing operations are not over-exposed to any one region’s too damp, or too dry, weather. Read more

sugar candyChina’s rising demand for sugar, caused by a growing population and economic progress, is adding more pressure to the world’s biggest sugar producers.

Chinese demand for sugar imports will have nearly tripled from 2007 to this year, and China’s sugar deficit has increased. The country is not able, or more accurately, not willing to, produce enough sugar to meet its need; the land has been increasingly used to build cities rather than grow sugar cane. It doesn’t help that the government maintains a tight grip on sugar supplies. Read more

Despite three decades of market reforms, the Chinese government still clings to some elements of its centrally planned past.

Beijing is particularly fond of its strategic commodity reserves, which hold everything from frozen pork to copper and allow the state to dictate prices for raw materials deemed sensitive or strategically important. One item on the long list is white sugar.  Read more

By Debbi Sutuntivorakoon and Andrew Cheng in mergermarket

Six months ago, mergermarket reported that Australia’s only listed sugar producer, Maryborough Sugar Factory, was a ripe acquisition target. Now Thailand’s largest sugar company – Mitr Phol – has now stepped in to take a 19.9 per cent stake. And, if the tactics of another Thai company are anything to go by, Mitr Phol may soon look to acquire the rest of Maryborough. Read more

Over the last eight years, Brazil’s President Lula has developed a foreign policy quite independent of its traditional ally, the US. Its rapid expansion of diplomatic and economic relations has led to embraces of Iran and Venezuela and elicited no small amount of criticism on the way. Now here is a new business partner that some westerners would consider even more unpalatable: Sudan. Read more

Peru’s sugar industry is facing the sticky possibility of a price-fixing probe after the ministers for the economy, agriculture and production called on Indecopi, the country’s consumer watchdog, to look into spiralling prices. Read more