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Brazil’s Raw-Sugar Premium Rises on Port Backlog, Higher Sales

Buyers of raw sugar from top grower Brazil are paying a larger premium for their sweetener after higher-than-expected sales from the South American nation and concerns about a port backlog, according to Green Pool Commodity Specialists Pty.

Raw sugar from Brazil was at a premium of 0.1 cent a pound to the price of the May futures on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange in New York, the Brisbane, Australia-based researcher said in a report e-mailed today. That compares with a premium of 0.05 cent a pound last week. Raw sugar for May delivery rose 0.4 percent to 18.82 cents a pound by 2:25 p.m. on ICE.

“Center South Brazilian sellers did an excellent job of offloading surplus sugar in the first quarter to a wide range of buyers at a sharp discount to March futures,” Tom McNeill, a director at the company, said by e-mail today. “Buyers are now concerned regarding the logistics situation in Brazil with soy and grains congesting both Paranagua and Santos ports.”

As many as 196 ships were waiting at Brazil’s main ports to load grains and oilseeds as of today, according to Santos-based SA Commodities and Unimar Agenciamento Maritimos Ltd. That’s up from 100 ships a year earlier and 86 vessels in 2011. Sugar shipments have not yet been delayed, Nicolle de Castro, a business analyst at SA Commodities, said by phone today.

In Thailand, the second-biggest sugar exporter, the premium for the raw sweetener for immediate loading climbed to 0.8 cent a pound from 0.65 cent a pound a week earlier, according to Green Pool. Thai sugar for the Japanese market, the so-called J-spec, was at a premium of 1.25 cents a pound for loading from March to May, the highest in more than five months, it said.

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