US to import more expensive sugar as Mexican supplies falter

By Thomson Reuters Feb 8, 2024 | 12:03 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The United States will import sugar at higher costs from places other than its main supplier Mexico, as production there has fallen due to adverse weather conditions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said on Thursday.

The USDA in its monthly supply and demand report (WASDE) projected that imports at lower tariffs from Mexico will fall to 799,000 short tons (ST) from the 922,000 ST expected previously.

The U.S. government agency expects Mexico’s sugar production to fall to 4.87 million ST in 2023/24 (Oct-Sept), nearly 350,000 ST less than in the previous crop.

“The sugarcane harvest in Mexico continues to lag at levels unprecedented in recent times. All relevant production parameters (yields and recovery) through Feb. 2 are several standard deviations below 10-year averages with no improvement being seen as time advances,” it said.

The USDA projected that the U.S. will now import 715,000 ST at the highest tariff, up from January’s estimate of 575,000 ST, to make up for falling Mexican supplies.

U.S. sugar production was little changed at 9.35 million ST.

(Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)