India set to overtake Brazil as the biggest sugar producer in the world

  • Production in the South Asian country could hit a record 35.9 million tonnes this season, according to the US Department of Agriculture
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2018, 4:43pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2018, 4:43pm

Brazil, traditionally the world’s top sugar producer, could cede the crown to India for the first time in 16 years.

Production in the South Asian country this season may rise 5.2 per cent to a record 35.9 million tonnes on increasing acreage and improving yields, the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service said on Tuesday in a report. At the same time, Brazil’s output is set to tumble 21 per cent to 30.6 million tonnes because of adverse weather and a shift to producing more cane-based ethanol.

Global production is forecast to fall 4.5 per cent to 185.9 million tonnes, trailing the May estimate of 188.3 million, after the outlooks for Brazil, Thailand and the European Union were revised lower.

Brazil is expected to remain the top exporter, followed by Thailand. The marketing season runs from April to March in the South American nation and from October to September in India. Most countries run from May to April.

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Global inventory is forecast to rise as “massive stock building” in India counters lower supplies in China and the EU, the USDA unit said.

Raw-sugar futures have slumped 18 per cent this year in New York amid bumper crops. In 2017, the price tumbled 22 per cent.