WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture in its March 9 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report boosted from February its 2021-22 forecast of sugar deliveries for food but lowered supply slightly as it adjusted the ending stocks-to-use ratio down to 13.6%.  

The USDA forecast 2021-22 sugar deliveries for food at 12,300,000 tons, raw value, up 100,000 tons, or 0.8%, from the February forecast and up 1.4% from 2020-21. Total sugar deliveries were forecast at 12,440,000 tons, up 100,000 tons from February with exports and “other” deliveries unchanged.

“US sugar deliveries for human consumption are increased ... based on strong to-date deliveries by beet processors and on higher-than-expected direct consumption imports through the end of January,” the USDA said. Many in the trade expected the USDA to raise deliveries based on the Department’s Sugar Market Data report and anecdotal reports from the trade. 

The USDA forecast 2021-22 total domestic sugar production at a record high 9,384,000 tons, down 58,000 tons, or 0.6%, from its February forecast, with beet sugar at 5,389,000 tons, down 12,183 tons, or 0.2%, and cane sugar at 3,995,680 tons, down 45,059 tons, or 1.1%. Total US domestic refined beet and cane sugar production chart

“Beet sugar production is decreased ... on processors’ forecast of lower sucrose extraction and an increase in beet pile shrink,” the USDA said. “Florida (cane) sugar production is decreased ... based on lower sugar cane yield and sucrose recovery from processors’ analysis of the effect of late January freezes on the crop.”

Total sugar imports in 2021-22 were forecast at 3,043,041 tons, up 31,091 tons from February. Raw sugar tariff-rate quota imports were raised 20,591 tons “based on updated Foreign Agricultural Service analysis of expected TRQ shortfall,” the USDA said. High-tier tariff imports were raised by 25,000 tons based on strong imports to date. Imports from Mexico were forecast at 1,050,212 tons, down 14,500 tons from February, a decline much smaller than some expected as the increase in deliveries reduced the reduction needed for Mexico to achieve a stocks-to-use ratio near 13.5%.

“Calculated US needs implied by the March 2022 US sugar WASDE as set out in the AD/CVD suspension agreements is 887,843 tonnes (1,037,400 short tons),” the USDA said. “There is an additional export amount of 10,965 tonnes (12,812 short tons) from the 2020-21 export allocation to Mexico that was permitted by the US Department of Commerce to enter the United States after Sept. 30 (2021).”

Total sugar supply in 2021-22 was forecast at 14,132,000 tons, down 26,152 tons from February but up about 86,000 tons from 2020-21.

“USDA projects an increase in 2021-22 US sugar use combined with a reduction in supply to decrease ending stocks to 1,692,320 tons for an ending stocks-to-use ratio of 13.6%,” the USDA said.

Had the USDA taken the ending stocks-to-use ratio down to 13.5%, the minimum permitted under the AD/CVD suspension agreements, supplies would have had to be reduced by about 13,000 more tons.

Only minor changes from February were made in Mexico’s 2021-22 sugar supply and use forecasts with a 4,000-tonne reduction in imports offset by a like reduction in exports, leaving ending stocks unchanged at 919,000 tonnes, actual weight.