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Brazil sugar party goes on, low prices dampen mood

More than 1,000 sugar industry leaders, who have endured dismal sugar prices this year, boarded an ocean liner and partied in elegant attire on Thursday night as Brazil Sugar Week wrapped up.

The biannual event is a long established series of conferences, seminars and parties that brings together traders, millers and fund managers from around the world to discuss the market outlook.

A bearish mood hung over the event, but a record number of participants turned out underscoring Brazil\\\’s importance as the world\\\’s top sugar exporter.

As the MSC Armonia set out to sea, a somersaulting unicyclist, a finger puppet display and fine dining failed to lift spirits as traders voiced concerns about sugar prices.

\\\”The mood does seem to be bearish here. The question is how far the market can fall,\\\” said Charles Funnell, a British soft commodities trader with Swiss-based investment fund Aisling Analytics.

The regional head of a leading sugar trading house said the dismal macroeconomic backdrop fueled by worries over soaring European sovereign debt, gnawed away at sentiment about the sugar market, which like many other commodities has been hit by shaky global economies, particularly in Europe where debt pressures have several countries struggling.

\\\”It\\\’s all looking pretty grim,\\\” he said.

ICE raw sugar futures SBc1 this year slid to their lowest in over 5-1/2 months amid expectations for a big surplus over the next 12 months, and for hefty crops in rivals like Thailand, India, Russia, Ukraine, and most EU countries.

Meanwhile in Brazil, the world\\\’s top sugar producer as well as exporter, the crop has decreased. It was smaller-than-expected in 2011/12, and several analysts this week predicted a dismal crop next year because of adverse weather and aging cane plants.

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