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On-line News

August 2014

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Another quiet month - the northern summer holidays :


The bulls seem to be in retreat with the price hanging in the low 16 ¢/lb range and talk of a strong El Niño event fading. Even the monsoon was looking better by early August although it has actually deteriorated in UP and parts of Maharashtra are still classed as ‘deficient’ or even ‘scanty’ [60 to 99% below normal] :

Monsson map

All this even though the Brazilian crop looks as if it will be small [estimates seem to differ markedly] and with an early finish.


As we reported while it was happening, a fire broke out in one of the Cosan sugar facilities within the Brazilian port of Santos on Sunday afternoon August 3. It is only 10 months since the major fire at Copersucar’s facilities within the port but on this occasion only one warehouse was affected and it only contained about 15 000 tons of sugar.

There are indications that someone was quick-witted and cut conveyor belts which otherwise would have carried the fire onwards to other parts of the facility.


The government of Egypt has announced that it wants to almost double sugar output [from 1.1 to 2 million tons] by investing in its state owned Egyptian Sugar and Integrated Industries Company [ESIIC]. The problem is that it only wants to invest $56 million, the sort of figure which is required each year for routine maintenance.

The real problem, however, seems to be the agriculture : another 100 000 ha of cane land would be needed with enough water to irrigate the crop : at least another billion m³ per annum.


As part of its latest attempt to get rid of the five remaining government owned factories, Kenya is forgiving a total of $500 million in debts owed to it by the companies. There is still talk of the companies being transferred to the local authorities which means that in essence they are being paid, on average, $100 million to take the companies off the government books.


Kenya has been blocking the import of Uganda’s sugar for the last two or three years on the basis that it was actually sugar imported into Uganda, something which hasn’t happened since 2011. It would seem that the issue has finally been resolved and Uganda, which has a surplus of perhaps 150 000 tons, will now be able to export as it should under the COMESA regime.


The strike at Illovo’s Ubombo Ranches factory has ended after three weeks with the workers getting a 10% pay increase.


A major issue appears to be developing in UP where the price of cane is not related to the selling price of sugar as distinct from say Maharashtra and Karnataka where, in line with federal government guidelines, it is. The millers have given notice to the state government that they will not crush this coming crop [harvesting normally starts in October] and hence sustain even more losses. UP and Maharashtra are the two dominant states in India with respect to sugar production.


Pepsi has launched ‘Pepsi-Cola Made With Real Sugar’ in the USA, decades after it switched from real sugar to HFCS for its North American drinks in order to reduce costs. It is not clear how much of the motivation is a response to claims that HFCS is treated differently by the body and how much is just new marketing.

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