(Adds company comment in fourth paragraph.)
June 30 (Bloomberg) -- Sugar Australia, a unit of Wilmar International Ltd.-owned Sucrogen, imported sugar for a second time in three years to meet domestic demand after a cyclone in February and wet conditions in growing regions cut supply in the world’s third-biggest shipper.
The company purchased 42,000 metric tons of sugar from Thailand in April and 26,000 tons from Brazil last month, Russell Abotomey, general manager of sales and marketing, said in a phone interview. Sugar Australia imported one shipment of sugar about three years ago due to a shortage, he said.
Tropical Cyclone Yasi cut through Australia’s northeast, slashing yield potential by about 30 percent in an area that makes up 20 percent of total output, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences said on June 21. Prices climbed to a 30-year high on Feb. 2 as demand exceeded supply, helping send global food costs to a record. Sugar has slumped 25 percent since then as global production increased.
“Because of the shortfall in the crop from Queensland last year, we’ve had a requirement to import these two shipments,” Abotomey said from Melbourne. “We don’t have a huge amount of storage, they’d already exported some of the volumes so there was a shortfall.”
Yasi caused an estimated A$500 million ($535 million) damage while wet weather since then limited plantings, producers’ group Canegrowers said last month. Australia’s sugar output may rise 6.4 percent to 3.85 million tons in the year ending June 2012, as damage from the cyclone offset increased planting, the bureau said. Exports may increase 2 percent to 2.48 million tons from the year ago, it said.
“I would suspect we wouldn’t have to” import more sugar, Abotomey said. The imported raw sugar will be blended with Australian sugar and will likely be used in food and drink products, he said.
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