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As usual there was little news at this month :
Brazil announced better than expected output for the year in mid December and people immediately started talking down the price, the expectation of mid teens prices being on some people’s lips. At one point the price did close at about 18.5 ˘/lb but by the end of the month/year it was back to 19.5, more or less where it had been for most of November and December :
Egypt has imposed additional tariffs on both raw [17%] and white [20%] sugar imports called a ‘provisional safeguard’. There are also minima involved which equate to about $97 on raws and $117 on whites.
At the start of last month Chemelil, one of the most decrepit of the five public sector factories in Kenya announced that it would be spending US$ 6 million on refurbishment to significantly enhance plant and double (!) sugar production. Apparently it has not been maintained for the last four years.
This was presumably part of a plan to make the place at least a little more attractive in the long proposed privatisation exercise. However, at the end of the month a Parliamentary Committee voted against any privatisation at this time : watch this space!
ASEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY
The Far East is starting to get excited about the ASEAN EC which starts in 2015. The Thai industry certainly sees export opportunities. The sugar industries of Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines have now formed the ‘ASEAN Sugar Alliance’. The three countries dominate the regional sugar production with a combined output of nearly 90% of the total.
The locked out workers of American Crystal have again rejected the latest contract proposals, 16 months into the lock-out. The original vote which led to the lock-out was almost unanimous and the vote four months later was still 90% against but by ten months it was down to 63% and this vote it was down further to 55% against. The company says that nearly 40% of the workers have left over the period of the lock-out.
Grupo Gloria, owner of Casa Grande, Cartavio and San Jacinto, has finally received a all the permits it needs to start operating its 30 000 l/d ethanol plant at Casa Grande. The company currently has over 38 000 ha of estates and recently acquired another 15 400 ha of the Olmos irrigation project in the north of the country close to Chiclayo.
Back in late November a financial analyst / ‘short seller’ targeted Singapore’s Olam, citing the fact that it pulled out of its Lagos refinery project as part of the reason for downgrading the share value. Olam’s share price promptly slumped considerably but Olam then sued the analyst for defamation and the spat has been going on ever since. Now, however, Olam has also announced that it is pulling out of its proposed acquisition of Usina Acucareira Passos in Brazil…...