China Sugar Imports Jump to Record as Refining Capacity Expands

China’s sugar imports jumped to a record for a second month in October as domestic refining capacity expanded amid changing diets in the world’s second-biggest consumer of the sweetener.

Imports were 709,873 metric tons in October, compared with the previous record of 591,855 tons in September, according to a statement from China’s customs today.

“The fast expansion of China’s sugar refining capacity has fueled imports of raw sugar recently,” said Zhan Xiao, an analyst at Xinhu Futures Co. in Dalian. “Higher prices in China also stimulated imports.”

Refined sugar for May delivery on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange closed at 5,036 yuan a ton (37.58 cents a pound), while raw sugar in New York was at 17.61 cents a pound at 4:27 p.m. Beijing time.

China also imported a record 1.31 million tons of wheat last month, according to customs. Suppliers made deliveries of U.S. grain buyers had bought during the second quarter, said Liang Ruian, vice president at Shanghai Jianfeng Asset Management Co. in Shanghai.

Imports of cotton fell to 141,157 tons in October, the lowest level since June 2011, according to customs. The local textile industry struggled to compete with cheaper imports of foreign yarn, said Dong Shuangwei, head of research at Henan Tongzhou Cotton Trade Co. in Beijing.

— With assistance by Feiwen Rong

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