Sugar production remains strong despite less ground planted

Production from Austalia’s 2020 sugar crush that ended in early December will result in cane volumes of just over 31 million metric tonnes (mmt).

This result is up 4% on the previous year.  Real sugar output is expected to total more than 4.3 mmt for the season.

Moving forward it is expected the onset of a La Nina will prove an advantage for the Australian sugar-growing season.

With forecast strong rainfall to assist cane development and, ultimately, 2021 yields.

In further good news, Chinese trade friction is expected to have limited impact on Australian sugar exports.

China has only accounted for 5.6% of Australian sugar exports, on average, over the past five years.

The area in planted by local growers to cane remains under pressure. It fell an estimated 3% year on year in the 2020/21 crop year, and in comparison 10% since the 2016/17 season.

A global sugar deficit of 0.3 million metric tonnes raw value (mtrv) is being projected for 2020/21.

This forecast of a deficit has been expected for some time, despite an increase in world-wide sugar production, which will be offset by a projected 1.7% year-on-year recovery in global consumption. 

This follows an estimated 1.8 million mtrv global sugar surplus recorded for the 2019/20 (October – September) season.

Production increases are particularly expected this season in China, India and Pakistan, and also in North America, as crops there recover from recent years of drought.

At the same time though, it is expected there will be a recovery in global sugar consumption from last year’s rates which were hit by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Taking everything into consideration, consumption forecasts for 2020/21 have been tempered slightly, given the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that is occurring in many parts of the world.

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