UAE sugar imports at record high just as Brazil runs low

As reported in the Arabian Business Journal Wednesday, 27 January 2016 1:40 PM

The United Arab Emirates, home to the world’s largest port-based sugar refinery, imported the most raw sugar on record at the end of 2015 just before Brazil and India started to run low on exports of the sweetener.

Raw sugar destined for the UAE in the fourth quarter totaled 943,000 metric tons, according to shipping data compiled by Platts Kingsman. That’s the most on record since the data series began in the first quarter of 2006 and is up from 726,000 tons a year earlier, the company said. All of the supplies in the most recent fourth quarter came from Brazil, the world’s biggest exporter, according to Kingsman.

“According to the data I have, it’s a record high for a quarter, it’s not usual to have this important quantity,” Claudiu Covrig, senior sugar analyst at Platts Kingsman, said by phone Tuesday. “You usually see the U.A.E. buying more in the fourth quarter, but this volume was very big.”

The UAE typically gets raw sugar mostly from Brazil, and sometimes India and Thailand, Covrig said. First-quarter raw sugar exports from Brazil’s central south region, which accounts for about 90 percent of the country’s crop, will be 300,000 tons lower than previously estimated, at 3.2 million tons, partly on lower availability and lower demand, he said.

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