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Sugar #11 May '19 (SBK19)

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Sugar #11 Futures Market News and Commentary

Sugar Prices Rallies on Weaker March Brazil Sugar Production

May NY world sugar #11 (SBK19) on Tuesday recovered from Monday's 1-1/2 week low and closed the day up +0.11 (+0.88%). By contrast, May ICE London white sugar #5 (SWK19) on Tuesday fell to a new 2-3/4 month low and closed the day mildly lower by -0.90 (-0.27%). Sugar prices on Tuesday were boosted by news from Unica that Brazil Center-South sugar output in the first half of March fell -81.0% to 9,000 MT from 48,000 MT in the year-earlier period. The lower production was due to the fact that only 27 sugar mills were open in early March versus 50 mills last year and that there was wet weather that hampered fieldwork. Despite the dip in Brazil's production in early March, however, the consensus is for strong Brazilian sugar production in the coming marketing year. Platts on Monday released an analyst survey showing consensus expectations for a +7.7% yr/yr increase to 28.5 MMT in sugar production in 2019/20 (starting April 1) in Brazil's Center-South region. In addition, Platts Kingsman on Monday raised its forecast for the 2018-19 sugar surplus to 5.5 MMT from Jan's forecast of 3.2 MMT due to bigger-than-expected sugar production by India of a record 32.9 MMT vs its Feb forecast of 32.3 MMT. Also on the bearish side, Platts Kingsman reduced its projected 2019-20 global sugar deficit to 1.9 MMT from Feb's 3.6 MMT due to reduced consumption estimates and higher output by Russia, Iran, and Egypt. On the bullish side, sugar prices on Tuesday received support from the +1.8% rally in crude oil prices, which implies higher ethanol prices, higher Brazilian ethanol production, and lower Brazilian sugar production. Sugar prices on Monday and Tuesday also received some underlying support from the upward rebound in the Brazilian real from Monday's 3-month low. The stronger real discourages exports by Brazil's sugar producers, thus reducing global sugar supplies.
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