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Thailand frees more sugar for export

Thailand has cut by 100,000 tonnes the amount of sugar the government will set aside from the 2011/12 crop for domestic consumption, allowing millers to export more, a milling group said today.

Setting aside 2.3 million tonnes of sugar for domestic use could mean that Thailand’s exports will hit a record high of 7.9 million tonnes in 2012.

“The government realised that we had set aside too much sugar for the home market, so we agreed to cut the domestic quota to 2.3 million tonnes,” Vibul Panitvong, executive chairman of the Thai Sugar Millers Corporation Limited (TSMC), told Reuters.

The 2011/12 crushing season ended in May, producing a record output of 10.2 million tonnes.

Thailand exported 6.68 million tonnes of sugar in 2011, up from 4.42 million in 2010, according to TSMC data.

Traders said millers were now offering sugar to trading firms that mainly supply Asian buyers after obtaining permission to export the additional 100,000 tonnes.

“Demand is likely to remain strong in Asia, especially in China,” said a Bangkok-based trader.

Lausanne-based sugar consultancy Kingsman SA has forecast Chinese consumption of 15.480 million tonnes in the 2012/13 crop year, little changed from the 15.250 million tonnes consumed in

the previous year.

Total demand in Asia is forecast to rise to 66.799 million tonnes in 2012/13 from 65.635 million tonnes in the previous year.

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