Thai Sugar Output Seen Near Record as Cane Harvest Tops Forecast

Sugar output in Thailand, the world’s second-largest exporter, will surpass a previous forecast and near a record after farmers increased cane planting, according to the Office of the Cane and Sugar Board.

Production may total 10.1 million metric tons in the crushing season that started Nov. 15 from an all-time high cane output of 100 million tons, said Somsak Suwattiga, secretary general at the board. That compares with 9 million tons from a cane harvest of 90 million tons that he estimated on Feb. 8, and the record 10.2 million tons in 2011-2012.

Increasing Thai supplies may widen a global glut that pushed the commodity into a bear market in September. Sugar has slumped 51 percent in New York since reaching a three-decade high in February 2011 as production from Brazil to Thailand and China increased and a global economic slowdown curbed demand.

“Production is higher than we previously expected as rice and cassava growers shifted to plant sugar cane,” Somsak said in a phone interview from Bangkok yesterday. “These farmers didn’t notify us in advance.”

The area under cane rose to 10 million rai (1.6 million hectares) this season from 9.6 million rai in 2011-2012, he said. The cane harvest totaled 99.8 million tons as of May 1, yielding sugar of 10 million tons, according to the board.

Sugar production may total 10 million tons from a cane harvest of at least 100 million tons next season, Somsak said.

Raw sugar for delivery in July fell 1.6 percent to 17.60 cents on the ICE Futures U.S. in New York yesterday. Futures lost 9.8 percent this year, extending two years of declines. A third year of losses would be the worst run since 1992.

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