EU Allows Sugar Producers to Sell More to Ease Bloc Shortage

The European Union allowed sugar producers to sell more in the domestic market and accepted bids to import the sweetener to ease shortages in the bloc.

Domestic producers will be able to sell an additional 150,000 metric tons of sugar locally at a levy of 177 euros ($228) a metric ton, Roger Waite, a spokesman for the the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, said today in an e-mailed statement. The bloc also accepted bids to import 40,000 tons of raw sugar at a minimum duty of 141 euros a ton and 116,121 tons of white, or refined, sweetener at a tariff of at least 161 euros a ton, according to Waite.

Under EU rules, domestic producers can only sell a limited amount within the bloc. The rest, known as out-of quota sugar, needs to be put to non-food use or exported. The limit on local producer sales means that some of the bloc’s consumption needs to be met by imports from nations that have preferential access to the EU market. Sugar shortages emerged as shipments from these countries fell short of the commission’s forecasts.

EU white sugar prices climbed to 738 euros a ton in January, the highest since at least 2006, data from the commission showed. In February, prices fell to 725 euros a ton and were still almost double that of the futures traded on the NYSE Liffe exchange in London.

The EU said in November that it would boost sugar supplies in the bloc by 1.2 million tons in the 2012-13 season that started Oct. 1. Additional supplies of 900,000 tons have already been authorized, Waite said. Another tender to import the sweetener is scheduled for June 12.

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