USDA raises 2020-21 sugar supply forecast | 2021-02-10

WASHINGTON — Forecast record-high US sugar production and slightly higher imports in 2020-21 boosted the expected ending stocks-to-use ratio to 16.15%, up from 14.4% in January and up sharply from 12.9% in 2019-20, the US Department of Agriculture said in its Feb. 9 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report.

Total domestic sugar production in 2020-21 was forecast at 9,312,000 tons, up 156,000 tons, or 1.7%, from the January forecast and up 1,163,000 tons, or 14%, from 2019-20. Beet sugar production was forecast at 5,046,000 tons, up 53,778 tons from January and up 695,000 tons from last year. Cane sugar outturn was forecast at a record 4,265,000 tons, up 102,000 tons from last month and up 467,000 tons from 2019-20.

“Beet sugar production is increased on a projected increase in national sucrose recovery to 15.126%,” the USDA said. “Recoveries in all regions except the Upper Midwest are projected to be at historically high levels. Although beet pile shrink has been a concern in most regions, processors’ data collected through January has yet to suggest an adjustment.

“Industry data indicate that crop year 2020-21 cane sugar production in Louisiana has set a record of 1.957 million short tons, raw value (up 44,850 tons from January). With adjustments made for production occurring in September (prior fiscal year), the fiscal year estimate is 1.931 million tons. The campaign extended into January, resulting is record production for the month estimated at 197,000 tons.

“Cane sugar production in Florida is increased by 65,000 tons to 2.2 million on processors’ reporting of increased area harvested along with a smaller increase in cane yield.”

Cane sugar production in Texas was reduced by 7,984 tons on a drop-off in late season yields.

Forecast imports in 2020-21 were raised by 60,000 tons from January to 3,404,000 tons, all in high-tier imports, forecast at 170,000 tons, based on “the strong pace set in the first quarter of the fiscal year and over subscribed imports of organic sugar beyond remaining tranche levels that are being stored in bonded warehouses,” the USDA said.

There were no changes in forecast sugar use for 2020-21, and there also were no changes to any 2019-20 estimates.

“After the publication of the sugar WASDE next month, the Commerce Department will determine a new export limit for sugar from Mexico,” the USDA said. “That calculation will be set at the larger of (a) US needs as set out in the anti-dumping/countervailing duty suspension agreement or (b) the export limit set by Commerce in December 2020 of 927,920 tons.”

Barring other changes in supply or use in the March WASDE, adjusting Mexico’s limit to 927,920 tons from the current estimate of 1,163,000 tons would lower the ending stocks-to-use ratio to 14.2%, which still is above the USDA’s minimum target of 13.5% but within the target range of 13.5% to 15.5%.

The USDA made no changes to its forecast for Mexico’s sugar supply and use for 2020-21 or in estimates for last year.