THE CANE CUT/ Recovery for the Sugar Industry Ahead?


Today, Rabobank provides us with local and global insights on 2021 expectations for the sugar sector. A global sugar deficit of 0.3 million metric tonnes raw value (mtrv) is being projected for 2020/21 in Rabobank’s latest Global Sugar Quarterly report.

In its Q4 2020 report, the specialist agribusiness bank forecasts the deficit despite an expected increase in world-wide sugar production, which, it says, will be offset by a projected 1.7 per cent 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.

Rabobank commodity analyst Charles Clack says 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.

Rabobank commodity analyst Charlie Clack reports that the global sugar industry is now looking towards recovery having endured the full brunt of COVID-19.

“At the same time though, we expect a recovery in global sugar consumption from last year’s rates which were hit by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. That said, our consumption forecasts for 2020/21 have been tempered slightly, given the second wave that is occurring in many parts of the world.”

Charlie Clack

For Australia, the report says, the country’s 2020 sugar crush – which ended in early December – would result in cane volumes of just over 31 million metric tonnes (mmt) – up four per cent on the previous year. Actual sugar output is expected to total more than 4.3 mmt for the season.

The onset of a La Nina will prove an advantage for the Australian sugar-growing season ahead, with forecast strong rainfall to assist cane development and, ultimately, 2021 yields, Mr Clack said.

In further good news, the report expects limited impact on Australian sugar exports as a result of Chinese trade friction, with China accounting for only 5.6 per cent of Australian sugar exports, on average, over the past five years.

Area in Australia planted to cane remains under pressure – falling an estimated three per cent year on year in the 2020/21 crop year and 10 per cent since 2016/17.