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Readings

Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook (January, May, and September) gives an update of current market and policy developments and their impacts on the sugar and corn sweetener industries.

World Sugar and High Fructose Syrup Production Costs: 2000/01-2009/10   PDF icon (16x16) (April 2011, page 13 of PDF) examines yearly trends in production and processing costs for various categories of raw cane sugar, beet sugar, and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) producers--distinguishing between low- and high-cost groupings, different geographical regions, and major exporters other than Brazil. The analysis includes separate treatments of both field and factory costs.

Sugar Market Competitiveness in Brazil: Costs of Production and World Sugar Prices   PDF icon (16x16) (March 2011, page 9 of PDF) examines whether world sugar prices over time mirror changes in costs of production of the largest sugar producers and traders. An important consideration is whether changes in exchange rates, especially between the Brazil real and U.S. dollar, can influence the effect of changing costs on world prices.

Sugar Long-Term Projections through Fiscal Year 2021   PDF icon (16x16)   (February 2011, page 10 of PDF) examines longrun projections for sugar supply and use in the United States and Mexico. The primary factor for the U.S. sugar economy is a reliance on sugar imports from Mexico to maintain balance in the U.S. sugar market. With yearly U.S. sugar ending year stocks-to-use ratios set at 13.5 percent, there are no sugar loan forfeitures and there are no Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) purchases of sugar for ethanol. However, assuming higher investment in the Mexican sugar industry and/or increased use of HFCS in Mexico introduces a heightened likelihood of CCC purchases.

Sugar Production Costs in the United States and Mexico PDF icon (16x16) (January 2011, page 8 of PDF) Drawing on LMC International's cost of production sugar database, the Sugar and Sweetener Team of the Economic Research Service examines costs of sugar production in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) area--cane sugar in the United States and Mexico and beet sugar in the United States--for the period 2000/01 through 2009/10. NAFTA production costs are also compared with corresponding world production costs.

World Sugar Price Volatility Intensified by Market and Policy Factors  (September 2010) examines key factors affecting the world sugar market in 2009 and the first half of 2010. Rising pressure on sugar prices was intensified by supply disruptions in 2009, driving prices to double the long-term average. Higher production costs and growing ethanol use in Brazil set the stage for higher prices, but policy-induced production swings among Asian countries are the main source of price volatility. Although U.S. sugar prices are influenced by world prices, domestic sugar policy continues to drive U.S. sugar price movements.

Indian Sugar Sector Cycles Down, Poised to Rebound (April 2010) A cyclical decline in sugar production is shifting India, the world's second largest producer, from net exporter to net importer during 2009/10 and contributing to the recent runup in global sugar prices, but production is poised to rebound in 2010/11.  The recent swings in Indian sugar production are primarily due to a policy-induced cycle that has become increasingly pronounced.

Mexican Sugar and HFCS Long-Term Projections through Fiscal Year 2021   PDF icon (16x16) (February 2010, page 8 of PDF) examines the contribution of possible developments in the Mexican sugar sector to long-term projections made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the U.S. sugar and HFCS sectors. Specific analysis rests on the assumption that the United States will increasingly rely on Mexico to cover U.S. sweetener import requirements.

Tight Supplies Expected To Sustain High U.S. Sugar Prices into 2009/10   PDF icon (16x16) (October 2009, page 28 of PDF) evaluates factors that have contributed to rising domestic and international sugar prices. U.S. prices have increased roughly 40 percent since 2008, largely because of recent domestic production shortfalls and rising demand for sugar in place of HFCS. Domestic sugar stocks reached a 33-year low relative to consumption in 2008/09, and supplies are expected to shrink further in 2009/10 as imports recede from the near-record levels of 2008/09.

Colombia: A New Ethanol Producer on the Rise? (January 2009) examines Colombia's sugarcane-based ethanol industry. After operating for only 3 years, the industry is the second most developed in the Western Hemisphere. Colombia's sugarcane-based ethanol production is increasing; proposed expansion projects have the potential to more than triple daily production from 277,000 gallons in 2007 to almost 1 million gallons in 2010.

The EU Sugar Policy Regime and Implications of Reform (July 2008) examines European Union's sugar policy, which underwent its first major reform in 2005 in response to mounting and unsustainable imbalances in supply and demand. The reform targeted only a few policy instruments (intervention price cut, voluntary production quota buyout, and restrictions on nonquota sugar exports), while leaving other key policies unchanged (interstate quota trading, sugar-substitute competition, and import barriers). A model-based analysis suggests that--because of the oligopolistic nature of the EU sugar market--the initial reforms, by themselves, are unlikely to reduce overproduction.

Global Biofuels Market Boosts Sugar Ethanol Industry in Latin America   PDF icon (16x16) (May 2008, page 41 of PDF) reports that several countries in Latin America, besides Brazil, have policies and programs to expand production of liquid biofuels from biomass in the coming decades. This article analyzes developments that aim to reduce dependence on imported transportation fuels and to reduce poverty by engaging farmers in growing ethanol-producing crops.

Western Hemisphere Sugar   PDF icon (16x16) (May 2008, page 22 of PDF) analyzes the sugar industries of leading sugar-producing countries in the Western Hemisphere. This article highlights recent developments and trends in production, consumption, trade, and policy in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Jamaica, and Peru.

Processor Production Forecast Accuracy   PDF icon (16x16) (January 2008, page 37 of PDF) analyzes forecasts from processors for U.S. sugar beet and sugarcane production before and after implementation of the 2002 Farm Act. Accurate forecasts are needed to administer marketing allotments, which are part of the price support program for sugar. Have processors become more accurate in their forecasts? Has there been a tendency to overestimate or underestimate production since 2002?

Sugar Backgrounder (July 2007) addresses key domestic and international market and policy developments that have affected the U.S. sugar sector in recent years. It provides descriptions and analyses of farm-level production of U.S. sugar crops, cane and beet sugar processing and refining industries, sugar imports and exports, and sugar consumption.

Ethanol Demand Driving the Expansion of Brazil's Sugar Industry   PDF icon (16x16) (June 2007) assesses the recent expansion of Brazil's sugar and ethanol industries due to rising crude oil prices, expanding global development of renewable energy, and growing domestic demand for ethanol. Because ethanol in Brazil is made from sugarcane, sugar industry developments are now increasingly linked to policy initiatives in ethanol markets.

Mexico Overview   PDF icon (16x16) (May 2006) reviews sweetener issues in Mexico through spring of 2006. It presents data and analysis on issues of production, trade, consumption, and policy for both sugar and HFCS.

USDA's Sugar Program Response in FY 2005 to Weather Disasters   PDF icon (16x16) (May 2006) examines how USDA responded to the disabling of cane refineries in Louisiana as a result of Hurricane Katrina and the poor early sugar beet harvest in the Red River Valley in the Upper Midwest. According to the analysis, USDA actions allowed for the entry of an additional 560,054 tons of sugar into the market but, because of a variety of factors, only 384,725 tons actually entered.

European Union-25 Sugar Policy   PDF icon (16x16) (January 2006) assesses recent changes in European Union (EU) sugar policy, which will be implemented in July 2006 and which include a price reduction of 36 percent to be phased in by the 2009/10 marketing year. Analysis shows a reduction in EU sugar production and a virtual elimination of EU sugar exports, with a resulting increase in the world price of sugar.

Sweetener Consumption in the United States: Distribution by Demographic and Product Characteristics (August 2005) reports findings for sweetener consumption by income and demographic characteristics. Among the conclusions: per capita sweetener consumption is highest in the Midwest and lowest in the Northeast, and sweetener consumption tends to rise with increased income up to a certain level and then fall.

U.S. Sugar in the FTAA PDF icon (16x16) (March 2004) uses the USDA sugar projections baseline model to analyze the effects of several market access options. As part of this analysis, this chapter in U.S. Agriculture and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) examines the cost structures of Western Hemisphere sugar-producing sectors and the ability of those countries to supply the U.S. market.

Characteristics and Production Costs of U.S. Sugarbeet Farms (November 2004) summarizes production and financial information related to the 2000 sugar beet crop. Sugar beet production and costs varied considerably across farms and regions in the United States both on a per-acre and a per-ton basis, according to a USDA survey of farmers in 2000.

Measuring the Effect of Imports of Sugar-Containing Products on U.S. Sugar Deliveries (September 2003) analyzes the effects of imports of sugar-containing products on the level of sugar deliveries to U.S. industrial end users of sugar.

Program-Induced Behavior Affects the Data   PDF icon (16x16) (May 2003) analyzes how U.S. sugar marketing allotments affected firms' incentives to transfer ownership of sugar prior to the onset of marketing allotments in October 2002 and how that behavior affected the sugar supply and use reported in USDA's World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report.

World Sugar Policy Review PDF icon (16x16)   (January 2003) provides summaries of sugar policy regimes in select sugar-producing and exporting countries.

Sweetener Policies in Japan (September 2002) supplies a detailed description and analysis of Japan's policies to support its sugar producers and to regulate sweetener markets. Domestic policies include price floors for cane and beet farmers; subsidies to sugar refiners to compensate for the high cost of domestic sugarcane and sugar beets; and quantity limits on the production of HFCS.

U.S. Sugar Policy Under the 2002 Farm Act   PDF icon (16x16) (September 2002) (scroll down to middle of page 1) gives a concise profile of the new sugar title of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002.

Imports of Certain Sugar Syrups Rise Dramatically in the 1990s   PDF icon (16x16) (January 2001) projects that sugar syrups described under Harmonized Tariff Code 1702.90.4000, which enter the United States outside the sugar tariff-rate quota (TRQ) and at relatively low duties, could add as much as 125,000 tons in fiscal 2001 to a swollen U.S. sugar supply.

Weak Prices Test U.S. Sugar Policy   PDF icon (16x16) (September 2000) finds that domestic sugar production and imports are exceeding domestic consumption, making it difficult to keep prices above support levels without policy tradeoffs.

Returns from Mexican Sugar Processing: Measuring the Contribution of Capacity Usage, Technological Adaption, and Output Prices   PDF icon (16x16) (May 2000) examines the profitability of the Mexican sugar-processing sector and its ability to adjust to price incentives and technology in the expanded North American sugar market.

Conceptual Overview of the U.S. Sugar Baseline: Incorporating the Effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement   PDF icon (16x16) (January 2000) finds that the United States will be importing more sugar from Mexico over the next decade, largely because of NAFTA.

U.S.-Mexico Sweetener Trade Mired in Dispute   PDF icon (16x16) (September 1999) reviews disputes between the two countries over sugar and sweetener issues and highlights the potential consequences to the U.S. sugar industry of increased imports.

Early Season USDA Projections of Sugar Production   PDF icon (16x16) (May 1999) examines methods used in the early projection period by the USDA Interagency Commodity Estimates Committee (ICEC) to forecast U.S. sugar production.

"Implications of NAFTA Duty Reductions for the U.S. Sugar Market" in February 1999 Sugar and Sweetener Outlook (text only) offers an analysis of Mexican sugar support policies and the Mexican sugar industry as Mexico and the United States move toward integrated sugar markets in 2008.

The Rise and Decline of Puerto Rico's Sugar Economy   PDF icon (16x16) (December 1998) analyzes the Puerto Rico's shift from being a raw sugar supplier to the United States to importing sugar to meet domestic needs.

Auctioning Tariff Quotas for U.S. Sugar Imports   PDF icon (16x16) (May 1998) analyzes the current U.S. raw cane sugar TRQ allocations to 40 countries and discusses an auctioning system for the sugar TRQ.

U.S. and World Sugar and HFCS Production Costs, 1989/90-1994/95   PDF icon (16x16) (May 1998) reports on yearly trends in costs of sugar production for groups of major sugar exporters.

Origin of the U.S. Sugar Import Tariff-Rate Quota Shares   PDF icon (16x16) (September 1997) describes the beginnings of the TRQ system for administering U.S. sugar imports and gives data on how individual country quota shares are determined.

The Central American Sugar Industry   PDF icon (16x16) (December 1996) discusses the economic importance of the sugar industry to Central American countries.

Sugar: Background for 1995 Farm Legislation (April 1995) and Sugar: Background for 1990 Farm Legislation (February 1990) provide historical analysis of U.S. sugar and sweetener production, processing, consumption, trade, and policy.

A History of Sugar Marketing Through 1974 (March 1978) describes and analyzes the U.S. system of regulating production, import, and marketing of sugar from Colonial times to the demise of the Sugar Act in 1974.

Links

U.S. Department of Agriculture

National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) provides data on sugarcane and sugar beet yields, acreage, production, and prices by State and nationally, as well as other commodity-specific reports.

  • Quick Stats. Searchable database containing information on crop yields, acreage, production, and prices at the State and national levels.
  • Statistics by State. Links to State sites for information on crop progress; on State plantings, production, and yields; and on county estimates.
  • Census of Agriculture. A complete count of U.S. farms and ranches, the Census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, and many other items.

Farm Service Agency offers extensive information on sugar and other commodity programs and on sugar markets.

Foreign Agricultural Service supplies information on world sugar supply and use, as well as program operation information for the sugar TRQs and re-export programs.

World Agricultural Outlook Board provides data on U.S. sugar supply and use.

National Agricultural Library, National Agricultural Library Digital Repository (NALDR) offers online browsing of historical ERS Agricultural Economic Reports and Agriculture Information Bulletins.

Other U.S. Government

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative publishes the allocation of sugar TRQs by country and gives information about U.S. trade agreements and dispute settlement cases.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection provides announcements to importers about the administration and status of the sugar TRQs.

U.S. General Accounting Office publishes reports about the operations and effectiveness of the U.S. sugar program.

Last updated: Friday, November 14, 2014

For more information contact: Michael J. McConnell

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