Sweet and sour: Analyst raises deficit estimate amidst global production woes

14 Nov 2023 04:43pm
Pix for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX
Pix for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX

IN the bustling landscape of global sugar production, a recent report by the seasoned consultancy, CovrigAnalytics, sheds light on the intricacies shaping the industry's narrative for the 2023/24 crop year.

The sweet tale unfolds against a backdrop of challenges, triumphs, and a nuanced dance between supply and demand.

A Bittersweet Shortfall

CovrigAnalytics revealed a shortfall of 2.4 million metric tonnes in global sugar production compared to anticipated consumption for the ongoing 2023/24 crop year, Reuters reports.

This revelation prompted the consultancy to revise its supply deficit estimate upward by an additional 200,000 tons.

Despite the optimism stemming from increased production in sugar powerhouses like Brazil, Russia, and China, the gains appear insufficient to counterbalance the substantial losses incurred in India and Thailand. These regions grappled with adverse weather conditions, specifically insufficient humidity, adversely impacting crop yields.

Even with China making a significant cut of 440,000 tonnes in sugar demand, the deficit persists, adding an intriguing layer to the global sugar saga.

Figures on the Sweet Symphony

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According to CovrigAnalytics, the 2023/24 sugar production is forecasted at 187.5 million tons, a slight dip from the 189.4 million tons recorded in the previous crop year (2022/23).

Simultaneously, the annual sugar demand is estimated to be 189.8 million tons, marking a modest increase from the 188.16 million tons in the prior year.

This delicate equilibrium implies that nations will continue to nibble into existing low sugar stocks, maintaining a nuanced balance in the market.

CovrigAnalytics suggests that the NY11 (sugar futures) prices are poised to remain within a certain range – fluctuating 2-3 cents per lb up or down from current levels. The report clarifies that the supply and demand figures currently lack the momentum to drive a massive bullish or bearish market.

The dynamics presented indicate a scenario where the global sugar market is poised on a precipice, teetering between various forces that influence its trajectory.

The Sugar Dilemma: Import Woes

Importing countries are facing a conundrum as they grapple with the challenge of procuring sugar at the current elevated price levels.

CovrigAnalytics paints a picture where nations find themselves in a tight spot, wrestling with the economic dynamics of high prices and struggling to maintain a steady supply chain.

A Rollercoaster of Futures

The recent surge in raw sugar futures reaching a 12-year price peak at the ICE exchange adds a layer of drama to the ongoing narrative.

The speculative market, often influenced by a myriad of factors, seems to be riding the waves of uncertainty.

As the sugar dynamics unfold, CovrigAnalytics points to an intriguing global subplot.

Africa grapples with challenges in securing hard currencies, creating a scenario where the same amount of dollars yields fewer sugar volumes. Meanwhile, China and South Korea are considering alternative avenues, contemplating a shift towards other sweeteners such as corn syrup.