About Sugar

The Sugar Market

Production

Currently, about 110 countries produce sugar from either cane or beet, and eight countries produce sugar from both cane and beet. Sugarcane, on average, accounts for nearly 80% of global sugar production. Last October/September season the top ten producing countries (India, Brazil, Thailand, China, the US, Mexico, Russia, Pakistan, France, Australia)  accounted for nearly70% of global output.

Sugar crops offer production alternatives to food, such as livestock feed, fibre and energy, particularly biofuels (sugar-based ethanol) and co-generation of electricity(cane bagasse). Sugarcane is generally regarded as one of the most significant and efficient sources of biomass for biofuel production. A wide range of environmental and social issues are connected with sugar production and processing, and sugar crop growers, processors, plus energy and food companies, are seeking ways to address concerns related to sugar production, biofuels and sustainability.

Consumption

Between 2001 and 2018, world sugar consumption increased from 123.454 mln tonnes to 172.441 mln tonnes, the equivalent to an average annual growth of 2.01%. However, the second half of the current decade has seen a considerable deceleration in world sugar consumption growth to less than 0.84% per annum (average for 2016-2018), while no growth has been for 2018. 

Major sugar consuming markets include India, the EU, China, Brazil, the US, Indonesia, Russia, Pakistan, Mexico and Egypt.  

The most important drivers which influence sugar demand include:

• population growth,

• per capita incomes,

• the price of sugar and alternative sweeteners, and 

• health concern debate. 

International Trade

World sugar trade averages about  64 mln tonnes/year. Raw sugar accounts for around 60% of internationally trade volumes. Although many countries produce sugar,  top five exporters (Brazil, Thailand, EU, Australia, India) were responsible on average for nearly 70% of the world trade in 2016-18.Brazil, as the largest producing and exporting country in the world, dominates world trade, accounting for about 45% of global exports.

Indonesia, China the United States were world’s largest importing nations in 2018.


The World Sugar Economy in 2018

After three years of a global statistical deficit the world sugar economy returned to a surplus in 2018. World output exceeded global use of sugar by 6.171 mln tonnes.

World production showed an increase by 8.034 mln tonnes to a record 178.612 mln tonnes. The new record was achieved despite a massive year-on-year reduction in output in Brazil (-8.809 mln tonnes). Meanwhile, production increased considerably in India (+10.845 mln tonnes) and Thailand (+4.653 mln tonnes) compared to 2017.

By contrast, world consumption remained flat with a minuscule year-on-year decline recorded for 2018 (-0.04%). The world total reached 172.441 mln tonnes, down 67,000 tonnes from the previous year, when consumption grew only by 0.4%. World average per capita consumption decreased to 22.6 kg as against 22.9 kg in 2017 and 23.0 kg a year earlier.

In 2018 the volume of sugar traded internationally decreased from a record 65.749 mln tonnes in 2017 to 61.777 mln tonnes. On the export side, the main changes were lower exports from Brazil (-7.441 mln tonnes), while substantially higher exports were monitored in Thailand (+4.095 mln tonnes). Meanwhile, significantly smaller amounts of sugar from the world market were purchased by the EU (-1.168 mln tonnes), Bangladesh (-1.007 mln tonnes), the UAE (-0.793 mln tonnes), India (-0.720 mln tonnes), and Kenya (-0.705 mln tonnes). These declines were partly compensated because of larger imports by China (+1.826 mln tonnes).

By the end of 2018 world stocks of sugar had grown by 6.171 mln tonnes, to 111.101 mln tonnes. This is an equivalent of 64.4% of world consumption and can be compared to 60.8% in 2017.

During 2018 world surplus fundamentals put world prices for sugar under bearish pressure. The ISA Daily Price started the year above 15.00 cents/lb, fell below 11.00 cents/lb in August and September but partly recovered to a level around 13 cents/lb in the last quarter of 2018. As a result, the annual average reduced from 16.02 cents/lb in 2017 to 12.55 cents/lb in 2018, the lowest annual average since 2005. The ISO White Sugar Price Index decreased from USD432.04/tonne in 2017 to USD343.30/tonne in 2018.

 

2018

10 LARGEST PRODUCERS

10 LARGEST CONSUMERS

(in mln metric tonnes, tel quel)

1

India

33.30

1

India

25.39

2

Brazil

29.29

2

EU-28

17.94

3

EU-28

18.18

3

China

16.10

4

Thailand

15.44

4

Brazil

10.47

5

China

10.71

5

USA

10.19

6

USA

7.83

6

Indonesia

6.89

7

Pakistan

6.28

7

Russian Fed.

5.82

8

Russian Fed.

6.18

8

Pakistan

5.25

9

Mexico

5.92

9

Mexico

4.27

10

Australia

4.64

10

Egypt, Arab R.

3.30

10 LARGEST CANE SUGAR PRODUCERS
10 LARGEST BEET SUGAR PRODUCERS

(in mln metric tonnes, tel quel)

1

India

33.30

1

EU-28

17.98

2

Brazil

29.29

2

Russian Fed.

6.18

3

Thailand

15.44

3

USA

4.43

4

China

9.20

4

Turkey

2.47

5

Pakistan

6.25

5

Ukraine

1.75

6

Mexico

5.92

6

China

1.51

7

Australia

4.64

7

Egypt, Arab R.

1.25

8

USA

3.40

8

Iran

1.04

9

Guatemala

2.69

9

Japan

0.64

10

Colombia

2.33

10

Belarus

0.64

10 LARGEST NET-EXPORTERS (in mln metric tonnes, tel quel)

TOTAL

RAW SUGAR

WHITE SUGAR

1

Brazil

21.26

1

Brazil

18.17

1

Thailand

4.53

2

Thailand

11.04

2

Thailand

6.51

2

Brazil

3.08

3

Australia

3.09

3

Australia

2.98

3

EU-28

2.78

4

Guatemala

1.63

4

Mexico

1.45

4

India

2.46

5

EU-28

1.61

5

Guatemala

0.79

5

Pakistan

1.15

6

Mexico

1.58

6

South Africa

0.68

6

Guatemala

0.84

7

Pakistan

1.15

7

Cuba

0.49

7

UAE

0.83

8

India

0.88

8

El Salvador

0.40

8

Algeria

0.59

9

Colombia

0.64

9

Nicaragua

0.30

9

Ukraine

0.58

10

Ukraine

0.58

10

Colombia

0.27

10

Morocco

0.37

10 LARGEST NET-IMPORTERS (in mln metric tonnes, tel quel)

TOTAL

RAW SUGAR

WHITE SUGAR

1

Indonesia

5.23

1

Indonesia

5.13

1

China

2.81

2

China

5.06

2

Algeria

2.36

2

Sudan

0.96

3

USA

2.37

3

China

2.25

3

Uzbekistan

0.52

4

Malaysia

1.95

4

Malaysia

1.94

4

USA

0.51

5

Bangladesh

1.90

5

USA

1.87

5

Sri Lanka

0.50

6

Algeria

1.77

6

Bangladesh

1.82

6

Egypt, Arab R. Rep. Rep.

0.48

7

Korea, Rep. of

1.61

7

Korea, Rep. of

1.80

7

Israel

0.46

8

Saudi Arabia

1.31

8

India

1.58

8

Afghanistan

0.44

9

Egypt, Arab R.

1.29

9

Canada

1.24

9

Saudi Arabia

0.43

10

Canada

1.23

10

Nigeria

1.22

10

Chile

0.41


New Information from the Institute of Food Science and Technology provides technical analysis on dietary sugars