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Not an overly exciting month :
Last month, we wondered whether we are heading for a stable period around the 18 ¢/lb mark :
March closed almost unchanged on the month at 17.77, having started at 17.8.
The American Sugar Coalition has filed dumping claims against Mexico, saying that dumping margins have been as high as 40%. There is also talk of Mexican government subsidies but it is not clear whether it is those that create the margin or whether they are in addition to the margin.
Poor Cuba is in trouble again with this year’s harvest badly disrupted by wet weather, just adding to the usual woes from a lack of investment and insufficient supplies. This year’s budget was to produce 1.8 million tons, 200 000 more than last crop but Azcuba, the state run holding company, reported that the island was 20% behind schedule in early March.
Raizen [Cosan as was and now part owned by Royal Dutch Shell] is expecting to 3 to 5 million tons of cane below budget in the crop just starting as a result of the dry weather in early 2014. The company is also worried about wet weather [which resumed in March] delaying the start of crop.
Egypt’s Delta Sugar is embarking on a refurbishment programme at El Hamoul, wanting to add 2500 t/d of slice to its capacity. What we would question is where the beets will come from : our understanding is that there is no more capacity in the Nile Delta and factories are already trucking beets over 100 km.
The government of the Sudan has announced that China will be constructing the Blue Nile sugar factory as part of a major deal between the two countries. Taken from the Chinese viewpoint it is clear from the announcement that it is interested in the Sudan’s oil reserves.
If you believe the government then the numbers in Nigeria are quite amazing. On the demand side, the 2013 figure was about 2 million tons, up 500 000 on the 2012 figure.
On the supply side Dangote is reported to be investing $2 billion to produce 100 000 t/a of raws from 21 000 ha by 2018 while the Greek owners of the Golden Sugar refinery in Lagos are reported to be spending $300 million to produce 200 000 t/a of raws. Now which to believe?
The Ghanaian government is talking up sugar as an industry suited to the country, stating that it wants to become a major sugar exporter. Past attempts, from the colonial era, all failed but it seems that there are two new projects in the offing : one in the central region and one in the north.
We first told you about the central region project, resurrection of the Komenda factory, in June 2012 and again in April 2013 when it was said to be starting ‘that July’. India’s Exim Bank is reported to have now finalised a $35 million loan for the project so it is expected to start in June of this year
Interesting headlines appeared in mid March : Nordzucker, Germany’s second largest sugar company, was going to invest $300 million on a sugar factory in Zambia. Within a day, the company was back-peddling saying only that it was ‘intensively examining’ investment opportunities in the international sugar market. Is this a case of no smoke without fire?
A company called Zimbabwe Bio Energy is planning to set up a sugarcane ethanol project on Nuanetsi Ranch using water from the Tokwe Mukorsi dam now being built on the River Tokwe close to main road out of Zimbabwe to South Africa.
Before you invest you might want to visit this site to see the state of the dam, one picture from which is shown below :
Harel Frères, now called Terra Mauricia and owner of the Bellevue factory and power station on Mauritius, seems to have had a bad year with profits falling 30%. The blame is placed squarely on the performance at Bellevue.
A review by HSBC bank has well characterised the Indian industry, apparently stating that the country should stop exporting sugar as its domestic demand is more or less in balance with its domestic supply. It puts the country’s seesaw production down to farmers cash flow [or rather lack of it].
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
The WHO was in the news last month for publishing a draft guideline : Sugars intake for adults and children. That appeared in most news articles as ‘sugar is bad for you’, ignoring the plural of the guideline which covers all sugars including those naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates. It seems that those found in fruit which is eaten are not included. WHO wants no more than 5% of your daily calorie intake to come from sugars.