Brazilian Raw-Sugar Discount Narrows as 2013-14 Crop Nears End

Buyers of raw sugar from Brazil, the world’s largest producer, are getting a smaller discount for their sweetener as the 2013-14 crop approaches its end, according to Green Pool Commodity Specialists Pty.

Brazilian raw sugar for prompt shipments was offered for sale at a discount of 0.5 cent a pound to the price on the ICE Futures U.S. exchange in New York, the researcher, based in Brisbane, Australia, said in a report e-mailed today. That compares with a discount of 0.5 cent to 0.7 cent a pound last week. Raw sugar futures for March delivery fell 0.1 percent to 16.25 cents a pound by 6:57 a.m. in New York.

“Some of the selling panic has passed” and mills are now closing for the season, Tom McNeill, a director at the company, said in an e-mail response to questions today. “We expect most focus to be on ethanol from here on.”

Mills in Brazil’s center south, the main growing region, processed 25.8 million metric tons of cane and made 1.4 million tons of sugar in the second half of November, data from industry group Unica showed. That’s down from 28.6 million tons and 1.8 million tons a year earlier, the data showed.

Producers usually direct more cane to making ethanol at the end of the season because of lower sugar content. In the second half of November, 55.9 percent of the cane processed was used to making the biofuel, up from 49.5 percent a year earlier. About 75 mills had ended crushing for the season by the end of last month, down from 94 a year earlier, Unica said.

Brazilian raw sugar for January loading was trading at a discount of 0.3 cent to 0.5 cent a pound to the futures price, Green Pool data showed. That compares with a discount of 0.3 cent to 0.45 cent a week earlier.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.