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EU’s Sugar Beet Harvest May Avoid Winter Damage, ED&F Man Says

April 18, 2013

Sugar output in the European Union will probably be little changed in the 2013-14 season even as a longer winter delays beet sowings in the 27-nation bloc, according to London-based trader ED&F Man Sugar Ltd.

Cold weather delayed sugar beet plantings in countries including France, the bloc’s biggest grower, Poland and Germany, researcher F.O. Licht GmbH said in a report on April 12. Sugar output in the EU in the 2012-13 season that started in October will be 17.6 million tons, the European Commission, the bloc’s regulatory arm, estimated in December.

“Historically, they’ve always been able to catch up,” Hanna Rizki, a commodities analyst at ED&F Man, said today at the Kingsman EU Sugar Seminar in Geneva, referring to farmers’ plantings. “As long as the weather remains good from now on, production will likely be similar.”

Beet sowings are also delayed in the U.K., Rizki said, without providing estimates for the crops. A potential drop in output in Germany, where planted areas are declining, may be compensated by a possible increase in yields in France, she said. Sowings in Germany were delayed by two weeks, according to F.O. Licht. In France, plantings accelerated this month and were nearly complete, the researcher said on April 12.

Measures to boost sugar supplies in the EU market next season will depend on local prices, she said. Shortages this season prompted the commission to say it will allow an additional 1.2 million tons of sweetener in the domestic market. EU sugar prices climbed to 738 euros ($965) a ton in January, the highest since at least 2006, data from the commission showed. In February, it fell to 725 euros a ton.

“If reported prices are still elevated, you may see measures,” ED&F Man’s Rizki said.

Imports from nations that have preferential agreements with the EU are set to rise as they increase output and exporting to the bloc is profitable, she said. New trade agreements with countries including Peru, Colombia and nations in Central America will also help boost supplies.

To contact the reporter on this story: Isis Almeida in London at ialmeida3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net


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