U.S.D.A. raises U.S. sugar ending stocks

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its April 9 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates projected 2014-15 U.S. sugar ending stocks at 1,700,000 short tons, raw value, up 50,398 tons, or 3%, from its March projection but down 110,000 tons, or 6%, from an upwardly-revised 1,810,000 tons in 2013-14.

The 2014-15 ending stocks-to-use ratio increased from 13.5% in March to 13.9%, which is above the minimum 13.5% required under the current suspension agreements between the United States and Mexico, which regulate the amount of sugar Mexico can export to the United States, among other things, in lieu of antidumping and countervailing duties of about 56%.

Changes for 2013-14 included a 4,000-ton increase in Florida cane sugar production and a 9,000-ton decrease in deliveries for food, which resulted in a 13,874-ton increase in ending stocks, and a bump in the ending stocks-to-use ratio to 14.4% from 14.3% in March.

Total supply for 2014-15 was raised about 50,000 tons from March, to 13,919,000 tons, as the result of larger beginning stocks and a 36,524-ton increase in forecast tariff-rate quota imports, at 1,528,000 tons, lifting total imports by a like amount to 3,464,000 tons. Forecast sugar use in the current year was unchanged, resulting in a 50,398-ton increase in ending stocks.

The increase in T.R.Q. imports stemmed “mostly from sugar entering under free trade agreements that was previously expected to be imported in the first quarter of 2015-16,” the U.S.D.A. said.

For Mexico, 2013-14 numbers were unchanged, but 2014-15 ending stocks were lowered 26,000 tonnes, actual weight, or 3%, from March to 975,069 tonnes. Sugar production in 2014-15 was lowered 101,372 tonnes from March, to 6,050,000 tonnes, domestic use was raised 50,000 tonnes, to 4,574,000 tonnes, and exports were lowered 125,000 tonnes, to 1,506,000 tonnes.

Mexico’s sugar production forecast was lowered “due to a slower-than-anticipated production pace, especially in the state of Veracruz that has experienced excessive precipitation in the first three months of 2015, with especially severe weather in March,” the U.S.D.A. said. The reduction in forecast exports was to destinations other than the United States “because of much lower world raw sugar prices than existed when certain contracts for export were originally negotiated,” the U.S.D.A. said. Mexican sugar exports to the United States, now dictated by the suspension agreements signed last December, were unchanged 1,306,000 tonnes.
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