Sugar Technology
On-line News

November 2003

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The wires in October were relatively quiet as you will see below. Perhaps the low world price - it continues to hang around the US 6 /lb mark - is to blame?

WHAT DOES THE EU REGIME REALLY COST?

Last month we reported that the sugar regime takes $1.5 billion of the EU Budget : but is that correct? It seems that in many ways that the regime is self funding as the support costs for export sugar comes from a levy on producers, presumably passed on to the consumer. There is a good article on the web about this.

MEXICO - USA WAR NEARLY OVER?

Following a recent private meeting, officials from both Mexico and the USA announced that they had agreed 'broad principles' for a settlement of the sweeteners dispute which has been dragging on for years [or so it seems]. They were quoted as being confident that the agreement would lead to a resumption of trade "in the near future".

BEET HARVEST RESULTS

Everyone seems upbeat about this year's beet harvest with the warm dry weather resulting in a high quality crop:

  • Germany is reporting a sugar content of 17.78 %, a full percentage point up on the same test last [although reduced planting means a crop only 89% of last year's]
  • The Red River Valley is reporting both high sucrose [18.4% compared to last year's 16.9%] and high yields.
  • England is reporting an average sucrose content of 19.2% with some location consistently topping 20% although these are current figures and not the predicted figures for the whole crop.

The only negative tone was seen in North American reports where all the beets have to be harvested and stored because the ground freezes solid. Because the weather has continued to be so mild there is concern about heat degradation in the piles. The USDA have a research programme looking at this particular problem.

BEET WORTH MORE THAN YOU THOUGHT?

Several items on the wires reported a bizarre hijacking in Minnesota : someone took a beet transport vehicle at knife-point. One suspects that the felon was a lunatic rather than someone with knowledge of the real value of his target!

GUYSUCO LOOKING UP

Several reports on the wires last month were positive about the outlook for GUYSUCO but still nothing has emerged on the Skeldon II project. One report quoted Guysuco's impressive performance improvements in the 12 years since Booker Tate took over the management. Another gave figures on the substantial regional demand increase caused by Jamaica and Trinidad both failing to meet production targets.

MUMIAS PRIVATISATION

It looks as if the privatisation of Mumias may not be the same as originally intended. When the company was originally privatised, 30% of the shares were given to the farmers but it seems that they are now cashing in their shares which, in turn, is depressing the share price. It is estimated that about half of the holdings have been sold off.

AMERICAN CRYSTAL BUYS MOSES LAKE PLANT

As we reported at the time, the Moses Lake beet factory in Washington State was shut down several years ago. The facility has just been bought by American Crystal but it looks as if the primary target is the quota allocated to Moses Lake by the USDA. It is unlikely that the plant will ever run again.



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