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Sugar #11 May '19 (SBK19)

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Sugar #11 Futures Market News and Commentary

Sugar Prices Recover on Expectations for Lower India Sugar Exports

May NY world sugar #11 (SBK19) on Friday closed up +0.07 (+0.56%) and May ICE London white sugar (SWK19) closed up +0.20 (+0.06%). May NY sugar rebounded from a 1-week low Friday and May London sugar recovered from a 2-1/2 month low and closed higher on expectations that India's sugar exports may be less than government estimates. The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) sees India 2018/19 sugar exports at 3.0-3.5 MMT, below the government's quota of 5 MMT as sugar mills close for the season. The ISMA reported Friday that 85 India sugar mills in the state of Maharashtra, India's second-largest sugar producing region, have closed as of March 15 versus 38 mills that closed a year earlier, and that 56 sugar mills closed by March 15 in Karnataka, India's third-biggest sugar-producing region, versus 48 mills that closed a year earlier. Gains in sugar prices were limited Friday by the slide in the Brazilian real to a 2-week low against the dollar, which encourages exports by Brazil's sugar producers. Also, weakness in crude prices is another negative for sugar prices. Lower crude oil prices undercut ethanol prices and may prompt Brazil’s sugar mills to divert more cane crushing to sugar production than ethanol production, thus boosting sugar supplies. Sugar prices continue to see negative carry-over from Tuesday's news that the All India Sugar Trade Association raised its 2018/19 sugar production estimate for India, now the world's largest sugar producer, to 32.6 MMT from a Jan estimate of 31.5 MMT and above the Indian Sugar Mills Association's estimate of 30.7 MMT. Also, India's Sugar Mills Association on Monday reported that India sugar production during Oct 1-Mar 15 rose +5.9% y/y to 27.35 MMT.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 1.72 billion liters of hydrous ethanol in the domestic market in Feb, up +47% y/y and a record volume for a February, 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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