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Thai Sugar Harvest Seen at Record Adding to Global Surplus 

By Supunnabul Suwannakij - July 11, 2013 8:40 AM ET

Sugar production in Thailand, the world’s largest exporter after Brazil, may climb by 10 percent to a record in the season from November as yields increase, according to Thai Sugar Millers Corp. Futures declined.

Output will expand to 11 million metric tons, crushed from the biggest-ever cane harvest of 105 million tons, Sirivuth Siamphakdee, a spokesman for the Bangkok-based company that represents the country’s 50 mills, said in an interview. About 70 percent of output will be exported, he said, giving the millers’ first estimates for coming year.

Increased supplies will add to a global surplus that pushed futures to a three-year low yesterday, helping to curb global food costs. A weakening Brazilian real has boosted speculation that the biggest grower will raise exports, while a Bloomberg survey this week showed that the Indian crop will top demand after the best start to the monsoon in more than a decade.

“The surplus expected for 13-14 will continue to put pressure on prices,” said Tom McNeill, a director at Brisbane, Australia-based researcher Green Pool Commodity Specialists Pty. “The market is strongly signaling to producers to reduce production, not to increase.”

Futures are heading for a third year of declines, the worst run since 1992, and sugar is the worst performer after coffee and corn on the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of raw materials over the past 12 months. Prices that rose to 36.08 cents in 2011 spurred farmers from Brazil to China to boost planting.

Lowest Price

Sugar for delivery in October dropped to 16.19 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. yesterday, the lowest price since July 2010. The contract traded 0.3 percent lower at 16.20 cents at 8:38 p.m. in Singapore today, reversing an earlier gain.

“Normal rainfall this year will help boost production in the upcoming season to a record,” Sirivuth said by phone, forecasting that the average yield may climb to 105 kilograms per ton of cane from 100.24 kilograms. “We aim to increase production yield by ensuring enough water supply, educating farmers on growing techniques and reducing cane burning.”

Another global sugar surplus is on the way, bolstered by good weather in India and Brazil, Shawn Hackett, president of Hackett Financial Advisors Inc. in Boynton Beach, Florida, said in a report e-mailed on July 8. The London-based International Sugar Organization said on May 22 that world output will top consumption by 10 million tons in the 12 months ending Sept. 30.

Output in India, the second-biggest producer, will total 23.5 million tons in the 12 months from Oct. 1, according to the median of estimates from four traders, five millers and two industry executives in the survey. That compares with a crop of 25 million tons this year and domestic demand of 23 million tons.

The Brazilian real weakened to a four-year low this week, creating an incentive for exports sold in the U.S. currency. It makes sense to produce sugar and have it for shipment, according to Judy Ganes-Chase, president of J. Ganes Consulting.

Global food costs tracked by the Rome-based Food & Agriculture Organization dropped for a second month in June, declining to the lowest level since February.



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