Russian Customs Union to Cut Beet-Sugar Output, Association Says

Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are expected to cut their combined sugar production from beets about 14 percent year-on-year to 4.82 million metric tons, the Sugar Producers’ Association of the three states said.

That compares with a 2012 production estimate of about 5.6 million tons for the states, which share customs arrangements, according to the association. Beet harvesting in the countries starts in July, or August and refining begins in August.

Sugar output is being reduced because of a lack of refining capacities and low prices, which are spurring farmers to switch to planting wheat and corn to earn more money, Andrei Bodin, executive director of the association, said at the CIS Sugar Market 2013 conference in Moscow today.

Russia will produce 4.2 million tons of beet-sugar, Belarus 610,000 tons, and Kazakhstan 10,000 tons, according to Bodin’s presentation. Kazakhstan is expected to focus on sugar output from raw cane, he said.

Consumption is seen at 6 million tons, with Russia using 5.2 million tons, Belarus 350,000 tons and Kazakhstan 450,000 tons, according to Bodin.

The three states will produce about 930,000 tons of sweetener from raw cane in 2013, with Russia’s output seen at 430,000 tons, Kazakhstan at 300,000 tons and Belarus at 200,000 tons, according to the presentation. The three countries’ combined sugar exports are seen at 520,000 tons, with Belarus expected to ship 470,000 tons and Russia 50,000 tons.

Sugar stocks will decrease about 8.6 percent to about 4 million tons in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan by the end of 2013, from about 4.4 million tons at the beginning of the year, Bodin’s presentation showed.

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