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The northern summer doldrums in terms of news :
Well, perhaps we have seen the bottom of the market with the price almost back up to 17 ¢/lb by the end of July :
The sale of Hellenic Sugar to the French group Cristal Union seems to have foundered with the negotiations being terminated towards the end of July. It is unclear whether the government will now switch to one of its reserve buyers or not but what has happened is that the president of the company has resigned because of the continuous delays in the sales process.
The Ethiopian Sugar Corporation is reporting good progress on three of its new sugar projects and is expecting the country to be self-sufficient with the new crop which will start at the end of this year, thanks to expansions at its existing factories. The Tana Beles project in Amhara, north west of Addis, is said to have completed the irrigation work for 50 000 ha and the Omo Kuraz project in South Omo which is south west of Addis and almost in Kenya, is also well advanced with its irrigation work.
The Odebrecht project in Angola seems to be progressing with the company saying that it should start production next year. We also know a lot more about the project which, it turns out, is 40% owned by Odebrecht of Brazil, 40% by a local company controlled by various members of the government (!) and 20% by Sonangol, the Angolan oil company.
The project, about 300 km east south east of Luanda heading towards Melanje, has 42 000 ha of land and is targeting 260 000 tons of sugar by 2018 with an initial production of 40 000 tons in 2014.
SASA is still pushing for the right to establish electrical export from South Africa’s sugar factories even though Eskom shows no signs of allowing it. It made a written submission to the parliamentary committee on energy in July, stating that if all the factories upgraded to efficient electrical exporters then there would be an additional 712 MW of installed capacity [without saying whether that is the capacity if all bagasse is used in crop or if it is a smoothed 11 month capacity with bagasse storage].
BANYUWANGI SUGAR PROJECT
Banyuwangi is so far to the east on the island of Java that it faces across the 6 km straight to the island of Bali. There has long been talk of a sugar project there but it has never happened. Now three of the country’s state owned sugar estates [PTPN III, XI and XII] have announced that they intend to build Indonesia’s largest factory there, ‘Industri Gula Glenmore’. However, they have also announced a budget of $150 million which is a lot of money for the government to spend on sugar.
The federal government in Australia has announced funding for the dredging of Bundaberg Port following the silting-up which occurred in this year’s floods. The local industry has had to use shallow draft coasters to move out its stored sugar in an expensive double handling exercise.
Fiji seems determined to destroy its sugar industry, this time by way of a strike by the workers.
The outlook does not look good in Jamaica. The island was 10 000 tons short of its 138 000 ton budget when the crop recently finished and the Chinese owned Pan-Caribbean Sugar Company is talking of profit warnings. As a result of ‘security breaches’ Pan-Caribbean has effectively fired all its security staff and brought in contract staff – so everyone has gone on strike.
Brazil finally seems to have got away from the rains which were hampering the crop in the Centre South : the region harvested 2.4 million tons of cane in the first half of July compared to only 1.5 million tons in the second two weeks of June [those of you who attended ISSCT will understand why, it was so cold and wet!].
However, the dryer weather led to frosts in the region at the end of July. Although it is clear that some cane was damaged by the two nights of frost, it is not clear how much but as a minimum more ethanol will be produced than crystal as the damage will result in higher reducing sugar content.
Inventure International is a start-up company in the biomass hydrolysis sector using a mixed supercritical flow process. Interestingly, Wilmar has recently invested $5 million in the company but one has to ask whether such sophisticated technology will actually be financially viable.