LONDON Brazilian low quality white sugar flows are expected to increase to Myanmar, believed to be a gateway for sugar smuggled into China, as Indian sweetener exports fall.
Surging domestic sugar prices in India mean that Indian mills will increasingly spurn the export market, traders say.
Availability of Thai sugar is also thin due to hefty recent Chinese demand for Thai whites and prolonged dry weather in the number 2 exporter which cut yields, boosting the opportunity for Brazilian low quality white sugar exports to Myanmar.
One European trade source quoted Indian low quality whites at $500-$510 per tonne FOB, based on ex-mill prices in drought-hit Maharashtra.
This represents a $138-140/ tonne premium over New York July raw sugar futures, compared with a premium of $83/tonne for Brazilian low quality whites.
"The (export) supply from India is drying up," a senior European trader said.
"We're virtually done now," he added, referring to expectations of tightening supplies in India, the world's number 2 sugar producer, due to drought.
"With domestic prices high, it does not pay to export."
India is expected to shift to a net sugar importer next season from a net exporter.
Dealers said that as India and Thai export supplies tighten, Brazil could become the main source of sweetener for Myanmar.
Brazil's cane harvest has got off to a flying start in predominantly favourable weather in the centre-south, auguring for ample availability of Brazilian supplies to Asian markets.
Shipping times to Myanmar from Brazil will be longer than from India, but importers may have little choice but to accept the longer waiting times as there is limited availability of alternative supplies.
"What remains to be seen is whether Brazilian low quality whites are able to fully replace Indian low quality whites in Myanmar going forward amid rising domestic prices in India," a second European trade source said.
(Reporting by David Brough; Editing by David Evans)
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Updated Date: May 24, 2016 01:30:08 IST