WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture in its May 12 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report lowered from April its forecast for 2021-22 US sugar production and raised deliveries, but both were more than offset by sharply higher imports, resulting in a stocks-to-use ratio of 14.4% compared with 12.5% in April and with 13.8% in 2020-21. 

The USDA forecast 2021-22 total domestic sugar production at 9,229,000 tons, down 80,000 tons from its April forecast, with beet sugar at 5,254,000 tons, down 80,000 tons, or 1.6%, and cane sugar at 3,976,000 tons, up 5,000 tons. Most of the decrease in beet sugar supply was attributed to a 78,461-ton cut from April in supply from early harvest of the 2022 beet crop “due to a very slow pace of plantings this year,” the USDA said.

Imports were forecast at 3,469,000 tons, up 411,000 tons from April due to an increase of 159,625 tons in tariff-rate quota imports, forecast at 1,727,000 tons, a 50,000-ton increase in other program imports, forecast at 300,000 tons, a 170,000-ton increase in imports from Mexico, forecast at 1,220,000 tons, and a 31,833-ton increase in high-tier imports, forecast at 221,000 tons. The TRQ increase was the result of the recent reallocation of the TRQ shortfall, which now is estimated at 70,548 tons, the USDA said. The increase for Mexico was the result of the recent increase in Mexico’s “other sugar” export limit.

Total 2021-22 sugar supply was forecast at 14,403,000 tons, up 331,000 tons from April.

Deliveries in 2021-22 were forecast at 12,555,000 tons, up 85,000 tons from April due to a like increase in deliveries for food, forecast at 12,450,000 tons, “on a very strong pace for the first six months of the fiscal year, especially by beet processors and direct importers of refined sugar,” the USDA said.

Ending stocks in 2021-22 were forecast at 1,813,000 tons, up 246,000 tons, or 16%, from 1,567,000 tons in April and up 108,000 tons, or 6%, from 1,705,000 tons in 2020-21.

There were no changes made to estimates for 2020-21.

The USDA also made its initial 2022-23 marketing year forecasts for sugar. Total sugar production was forecast at 9,040,000 tons, down 189,000 tons from 2021-22, including beet sugar at 5,000,000 tons, down 254,000 tons, and cane sugar at 4,040,000 tons, up 64,000 tons.

Imports in 2022-23 were projected at 3,003,000 tons, down 466,000 tons from 2021-22, but will be raised later as the initial tariff-rate quota import level of 1,379,000 tons is set at the World Trade Organization and free trade agreement minimums, with a TRQ shortfall projected at 99,208 tons. Imports from Mexico were forecast at 1,323,000 tons, up 103,000 tons from the current year.

Deliveries for 2022-23 were the same as for 2021-22, including deliveries for food at 12,450,000 tons.

The initial projection for 2022-23 ending stocks was 1,266,000 tons, down 547,000 tons from 2021-22, but will be raised when full TRQ imports are announced at a later date. The ending stocks-to-use ratio was projected at 10.1%.