The world is facing what appears to be a sugar shortage. A lack of deliverable sugar ahead of Friday’s expiry has sent the white-sugar futures contract for May to its highest level in over a decade.
John Stansfield, a senior sugar analyst at DNEXT Intelligence, told Bloomberg that the number of contracts to be closed, also known as open interest, implies a large delivery above 880,000 tons, adding those with short positions “don’t have the physical sugar to tender.”
White-sugar futures have surged nearly 20% in the last three weeks, hitting levels not seen since November 2011.
The price surge, which will increase costs for food producers of various items such as soda, candy, and baked goods, will maintain pressure on global food inflation.
Bloomberg explains the shortage of the sweetener is global:
Prices of the sweetener have jumped on prospects for limited exports out of key shipper India and lackluster supplies from Thailand, Europe, China, and Mexico.
India is one of the largest exporters of white sugar, but shipments are controlled by quotas that are almost exhausted with no real expectation of an increase, said Soren Jensen, a longtime market observer. India’s refining industry might soon have to shift from domestically produced raw sugar to imports — most likely from Brazil. The South American country just started its harvest, but transportation bottlenecks are an issue with sugar competing against a record soybean crop for space on railways and at ports.
And output estimates for the 2022-23 season will worsen the global shortage, according to Wilmar International Ltd. head of analysis Karim Salamon.
“Next year’s crop will probably not be better.
“The cane and beet acreage is likely to fall in most areas due to the effects of crop competition.”
A worsening global sugar shortage will be inconvenient for those addicted to candy and junk food. AddictionCenter has suggested that sugar is as addictive as Cocaine.