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Russian Raw-Sugar Imports May Be Below 1 Million Tons, Ikar Says

Russian imports of raw sugar may fall below 1 million metric tons for the first time ever in 2012 because of surging domestic production, according to the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies.

Sugar output may reach almost 5.1 million tons in the current season running through July following a record beet harvest of 50.5 million tons, Moscow-based Ikar, as the institute is known, said in an e-mailed statement today. Inbound shipments of raw sugar came to 2.2 million tons this year, it said. Local production from domestic beets reached 4.6 million tons as of Dec. 26, according to the Sugar Producers’ Union.

Still, crop losses may restrain output, Ikar said. Farmers failed to harvest about 9 percent of this year’s beet crop because of adverse weather, and at least 12 percent of the roots that were gathered will be lost while in storage, it said.

Russia exported 180,000 tons of sugar made from domestic beets as of today, First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said in an interview with government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta. He said in October the country might become a net exporter this year.

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