“Sugar sparkles on the Christmas tree”

Eare you more Alsatian small cakes, Provençal olive oil pump, frozen desserts or quite simply a fan of the traditional log rolled in its thick creamy dress? Whatever your preferences, sweet tooths do not know where to turn during this festive period. Especially since candied chestnuts, papillotes and other chocolate confectionery add to the garland of Christmas sweets. The sugar sparkles on the tree.

What sprinkle a little hope on the industry, which seems to regain morale after several years of gloom. Already, the French beet harvest promises to be juicy in 2021. It should be around 35 million tonnes, compared to the meager 27.4 million tonnes collected during the previous campaign. And this despite the April frost which forced some farmers to reseed their crops decimated by the cold, and the use of a non-compliant pesticide forcing the destruction of 7,000 hectares. Not to mention the weevil attacks. Bitter-tasting episodes for sugar beet growers.

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Another reason for hope, the world price of sugar benefits from a sudden rise in blood sugar. “A tonne of white sugar is trading on the world market at 510 dollars against 340 dollars a year ago. Or an increase of 50% “, estimates François Thaury, of the Agritel firm. He moderates this enthusiasm somewhat, emphasizing the growth limited to 11% in Europe. The price of sugar has, however, returned to 400 euros per tonne. “With future contracts negotiated between manufacturers and food industry manufacturers, it could reach 430 euros”, forecasts the expert.

Tereos and Cristal Union still on their toes

The vagaries of the weather in Brazil, the world’s largest producer, resulted in a third season in deficit on the sugar market. Rest assured, the stocks of white powder are still full. Nevertheless, this record has fueled the rise in prices. Another salient point: the surge in the price of black gold and energy in general has propelled the price of ethanol to new heights. “In the Rotterdam market [aux Pays-Bas], the price of a cubic meter of ethanol has increased from $ 760 [670 euros] at a high of $ 1,740. Currently, it is trading around $ 1,400 ”, underlines Mr. Thaury.

Prices that make producers salivate. Particularly in Brazil, where they press the ethanol or sugar button depending on the best profit to be made from their cane juice. As for the Indian government, it wants to encourage the development of ethanol at the pump. The result is a lower risk of seeing the world market swallowed up by mountains of white powder.

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