Australia Sugar Exports at 3-Year High to Boost World Supply

Sugar shipments from Australia, the third-biggest exporter, may climb to the highest in three years as better yields boost production, swelling global supplies.

Exports may total 3.35 million metric tons in the year starting July 1, up 13 percent from the 2.96 million tons estimated in March, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences said today. That would be the highest since the year ended June 30, 2010, according to bureau data. Raw sugar production may be 4.4 million tons from 4.25 million tons forecast in March, the Canberra-based bureau said.

Raw sugar prices have slumped 15 percent this year, extending last year’s 27 percent plunge, on expectations of a global glut. Prices may drop to 17 cents a pound over the remainder of this year, the lowest level since 2010, as world supply is set to beat demand for a third season, according to broker and researcher Kingsman SA. The surplus in the 12 months starting October will be 9.3 million tons, up from a previous forecast of 5.7 million tons, it said June 8.

“An uplift in estimates in Australian sugar production and our export program, in conjunction with rising production elsewhere, certainly does mean that prices are likely to come under a bit of downward pressure,” said Michael Creed, an agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank Ltd. (NAB) “There’s quite a lot of sugar around.”

Raw sugar for October delivery fell as much as 0.9 percent to 19.82 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York today, before trading at 19.87 cents by 6:21 p.m. Singapore time.

Australia, Brazil

Australia’s production estimate “is driven by an increase in the area harvested and an assumed return to average sugar yields,” the report said. Global prices may average 20 cents a pound in the year starting Oct. 1, it said.

World sugar production may increase to a record 178 million tons in the year starting Oct. 1 on “favorable” prices, according to Abares. Output is forecast to increase in Brazil, China, India and the U.S., it said.

Australia is set to harvest 31.5 million tons of sugar cane in 2012, up from about 27.9 million tons last year as crops recover from wet weather that curbed output for two years, according to industry group Canegrowers.

Sugar output in the center-south region of Brazil, the world’s largest producer, dropped 19 percent in the second half of May to 1.96 million tons from a year earlier after rain slowed harvesting, industry group Unica said June 14.

Sustained rains in Brazil may reduce the country’s crop and pare the 3 million ton global surplus that’s been forecast by the International Sugar Organization for 2012-2013, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a June 11 report. The bank retained a three- and 12-month forecast of 22 cents a pound.

To contact the reporter for this story: Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne at psedgman2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

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