NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. government forecast on Thursday that world sugar production would rise to a record in the 2017/18 marketing year but that stocks will fall on lower inventories in China and Mexico.
Global sugar output was pegged at 180 million tonnes, on higher output in Brazil, China, the European Union, India and Thailand, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in its biannual report.
World stocks were forecast to fall for the third straight year to reach 38 million tonnes, down 2 percent year-over-year. This, combined with record exports at 59.2 million tonnes, was expected to support demand at 171.6 million tonnes, down 308,000 tonnes from 2016/17, the USDA said.
Brazil, the world’s biggest sugar grower and exporter, is expected to harvest 39.7 million tonnes, up 500,000 tonnes from 2016/17 on favorable weather. The USDA said a 1 percent increase in cane was forecast to be diverted to sugar production rather than ethanol.
No. 2 grower India was seen harvesting 25.8 million tonnes of sugar in 2017/18, up 18 percent year-over-year, while the European Union’s sugar production was forecast to reach 18.6 million tonnes, up 12.7 percent from 2016/17.
The USDA forecast Thailand will harvest 11.2 million tonnes in 2017/18, up from 10 million tonnes the prior year, and pegged China’s output at 10.5 million tonnes, up from 9.5 million tonnes in 2016/17.
U.S. sugar production was forecast to rise slightly at 7.9 million tonnes, with imports seen jumping to a record 3.5 million tonnes.
Reporting by Marcy Nicholson; Editing by Chris Reese and Diane Craft