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Sugar #11 May '19 (SBK19)

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Sugar #11 Futures Market News and Commentary

Sugar Prices Rally on Support from Real

May NY world sugar #11 (SBK19) on Friday closed up +0.10 (+0.76%) and May ICE London white sugar (SWK19) closed up +3.30 (+0.93%). Sugar prices moved higher Friday on the heels of a rally in crude oil to a 3-1/4 month high. Higher crude prices benefits ethanol prices, which may prompt Brazil's sugar mills to divert more cane crushing toward ethanol production rather than sugar production, thus curbing sugar supplies. Also, strength in the Brazilian real against the dollar Friday supported sugar prices since that discourages exports from Brazil's sugar producers. May NY sugar rallied to a 3-1/2 month high and May London sugar rose to a 1-month high Wednesday after the Brazilian real rallied to a 2-week high against the dollar. Also, increased demand from Indonesia, the world's largest sugar importer, fueled fund buying of sugar after Indonesia's Sugar Refiners Association said Tuesday that refiners may import 3.2 MMT of raw sugar in 2019, up +5.3% y/y. In addition, India's National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd projected on Tuesday that India 2019/20 sugar production will fall by at least -5% y/y to a 3-year low of 30 MMT. Sugar prices have underlying support from Unica's report Feb 12 that Brazil's 2018/19 Center-South sugar production during Oct-Jan was down -26.4% at 26.36 MMT, with 35.4% of cane used for sugar (down from 46.9% last year), and 64.56% of cane used for ethanol production (up from 53.1% last year).Big Picture Sugar Market Factors: Bullish factors for sugar include (1) concern about smaller global production after Unica forecasted that Brazil's Center South 2018/19 sugar production will fall -28% y/y to 26 MMT, (2) increased demand from Indonesia, the world's largest sugar importer, after Indonesia's Sugar Refiners Association said refiners may import 3.2 MMT of raw sugar in 2019, up +5.3% y/y, and (3) stronger demand for Brazil's ethanol after Unica reported Brazil millers sold 1.83 billion liters of hydrous ethanol in the domestic market in Jan, up +32.5% y/y and a record volume for a January, which implies less Brazilian sugar production. Bearish factors include (1) ISO's forecast that global 2018/19 sugar production will rise +0.6% y/y to a record 185.2 MMT and that there will be a 2018/19 sugar surplus of 2.2 MMT (vs 2017/18's 7.3 MMT), (2) USDA's FAS forecast for 2018/19 sugar production in India, the world's second-largest sugar producer, to climb +5.3% y/y to a record 35.9 MMT, and (3) record sugar output from Thailand, the world's fourth-largest sugar producer, after the Thailand Office of Cane and Sugar Board reported that Thailand 2017/18 sugar production rose to a record 14.47 MMT.
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