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Mumbai, Dec. 13

GLOBAL raw sugar prices, which have touched a 10-year high, are expected to remain firm on account of higher demand for ethanol and lower stocks, a top official of a sugar company said.

Brazil, one of the leading sugar producing countries, is shifting cane to ethanol production, Mr Kushagra Nayan Bajaj, CEO, Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd, said. The increase in crude oil prices has triggered an interest in alternative fuel for automobiles.

World sugar stocks at the end of the October 2005-September 2006 season are seen at 60.11 million tonnes against 61.37 million tonnes at the end of September 2005.

In 2005, the global sugar production of 144.6 million tonnes was lower than the consumption of 145 million tonnesBrazil, India, China, the US, Australia and Thailand accounted for 49.75 per cent of the global production in 2005.

The European Commission decision to slash subsidy on white sugar by 39 per cent and the EU countries agreeing to cut subsidies by 36 per cent over the next four years would perhaps result in the disappearance of the EU as a major exporter. The EU is expected to emerge a net importer of sugar in the long term.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 14, 2005)
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