WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture in its April 8 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report lowered from March its forecast for 2021-22 US sugar production, slightly raised imports and raised domestic deliveries, resulting in tighter supplies and an ending stocks-to-use ratio of 12.5% compared with 13.6% in March and with 13.8% in 2020-21. 

The USDA forecast 2021-22 total domestic sugar production at 9,309,000 tons, down 75,000 tons, or 0.8%, from its March forecast, with beet sugar at 5,338,098 tons, down 50,670 tons, or 0.9%, and cane sugar at 3,971,000 tons, down 25,000 tons, or 0.6%.

“About half of the reduction (in beet sugar) is attributable to lower production expected out of Michigan due to increased beet pile shrink reported by processors this month and fewer sugar beets imported from Canada for processing than originally expected,” the USDA said. “With production in the Red River Valley region expected to run unusually long into the first week of June, production is reduced marginally to reflect increased risk to sugar beets stored in increasingly warmer conditions. Also, production in California is expected to be slightly lower than originally forecast.”

Trade sources have indicated that the shortfall from Michigan alone may be around 50,000 tons. If realized, the USDA forecasts for beet sugar and total sugar production still would be record high, although some industry sources expect the beet number will be lowered in the coming months.

Imports were forecast at 3,058,000 tons, up 14,662 tons from March due to a like increase in high-tier imports, forecast at 190,000 tons “based on entries of raw sugar in the first two months of 2022.” High-tier refined sugar imports were unchanged from March.

Total 2021-22 sugar supply was forecast at 14,072,000 tons, down 60,343 tons from March.

Deliveries in 2021-22 were forecast at 12,470,000 tons, up 65,000 tons from March due to a like increase in deliveries for food, forecast at 12,365,000 tons “based on strong to-date deliveries by beet processors and on higher-than-expected direct consumption imports through the end of February.”

Ending stocks in 2021-22 were forecast at 1,567,000 tons, down 125,000 tons, or 7%, from 1,692,000 tons in March and down 138,000 tons, or 8%, from 1,705,000 tons in 2020-21.

There were no changes made to estimates for 2020-21 for either the United States or for Mexico.

The USDA forecast 2021-22 sugar production in Mexico at 6,166,690 tonnes, actual weight, up 187,690 tonnes, or 3.1%, from March and up 452,000 tonnes, or 8%, from 2020-21.

“Analysis of production data through week 26 (March 26) of the campaign implies that sugar cane yield and sucrose recovery will likely be higher than forecast but area harvested is likely to be about 10,000 hectares lower,” the USDA said. CONADESUCA forecast 2021-22 sugar production at 6,174,813 tonnes, based on higher harvested area and lower yield than the USDA forecast.

 Mexico’s sugar imports and domestic use in 2021-22 were unchanged from March. Exports to countries other than the United States were forecast at 1,939,000 tonnes, up 187,690 tonnes from March, with shipments to the United States unchanged. Forecast 2021-22 ending stocks were unchanged at 919,000 tonnes.