WASHINGTON — Numerous changes from June were made in 2022-23 and 2023-24 US sugar supply and use projections by the US Department of Agriculture in its July 12 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. Forecast supply was raised and deliveries were lowered for both years, resulting in higher ending stocks and stocks-to-use ratios. 

The USDA forecast 2022-23 US sugar production at 9,242,000 tons, down 56,000 tons from June, based on beet sugar production at 5,146,621 tons, down 24,185 tons, and cane sugar production at 4,095,000 tons, down 31,987 tons, due to a like reduction for Florida.

Imports in 2022-23 were forecast at 3,519,000 short tons, raw value, up 139,000 tons from June. Tariff-rate quota (TRQ) imports were forecast at 1,868,000 tons, up 137,789 tons from June based on the raw sugar TRQ increase announced July 10. High-tier imports were boosted 100,000 tons, to 350,000 tons, “on a large raw sugar entry made in June and on a higher expected pace of refined sugar imports for the remainder of the fiscal year.” Imports from Mexico were forecast at 1,176,000 tons, up 25,830 tons based on “greater sugar supply availability in Mexico.” Other program imports (re-export imports) were forecast at 125,000 tons, down 50% from June “after data reconciliations were completed by USDA and Customs and Border Protection.” 

Total sugar supply in 2022-23 was forecast at 14,581,000 tons, up 82,447 tons from June and up 73,000 tons from 2021-22.

Sugar deliveries in 2022-23 were forecast at 12,705,000 tons, down 75,000 tons from June based on a like reduction for deliveries for food, forecast at 12,600,000 tons “on an observed slowing of the pace of deliveries for human consumption.” Exports and other deliveries were unchanged from June.

Ending stocks in 2022-23 were forecast at 1,840,610 tons, up 157,447 tons, or 9%, from June and up 21,000 tons, or 1.2%, from the prior year. The 2022-23 ending stocks-to-use ratio was forecast at 14.45%, up from 13.1% in June and up from 14.3% in 2021-22. 

Many in the trade had anticipated a reduction in 2022-23 deliveries, and some had expected a reduction in sugar production. The boost in high-tier imports also came as no surprise, while an increase in imports from Mexico was not expected.

The USDA projected 2023-24 sugar production at 9,199,000 tons, up 72,000 tons from the June projection based on beet sugar at 5,021,759 tons, up 72,197 tons as “area planted and harvested in the Acreage report that is larger than reported or implied in the earlier Prospective Plantings report.” Cane sugar production was unchanged from June at 4,177,000 tons.

Imports in 2023-24 were projected at 3,420,000 tons, up 62,000 tons from June, with TRQ imports at 1,644,000 tons, up 231,485 tons based on the USDA’s July 5 announcement of additional specialty refined sugar TRQ. Other program imports were forecast at 125,000 tons, down 125,000 tons, high-tier at 165,000 tons, up 45,000 tons, and imports from Mexico at 1,485,900 tons, down 89,627 tons.

“The monthly pace of expected high-duty refined imports are projected at about 90% of the rate for 2022-23, and raw sugar entries are projected at zero,” the USDA said. “An evaluation of US sugar needs as defined in the CVD Suspension Agreement implies shipments from exported Mexico sugar at 1,485,900 tons. This is a reduction of 89,627 tons from last month.”

Total sugar supply in 2023-24 was projected at 14,459,000 tons, up 291,502 tons, or 2.1%, from June but down 122,000 tons, or 0.8%, from 2022-23.

US sugar delivery projections for 2023-24 all were carried forward from the revised 2022-23 forecasts, with deliveries for food at 12,600,000 tons, down 75,000 tons from June.

Ending stocks in 2023-24 were projected at 1,719,260 tons, up 366,502 tons, or 27%, from June but down 122,000 tons, or 7%, from 2022-23. The ending stocks-to-use ratio was balanced for 13.5%.

For Mexico, 2022-23 sugar production was estimated at 5,224,239 tonnes, actual weight, down 6,000 tonnes from June and equal to the final estimate from Mexico’s Conadesuca. Imports for consumption were estimated at 75,000 tonnes, up 30,000 tonnes from June. Exports were estimated at 1,027,000 tonnes, up 25,000 tonnes from June. Domestic use was unchanged at 4,357,000 tonnes. Ending stocks also were unchanged from June at 880,000 tonnes.

There were no changes to 2023-24 projections for Mexico with sugar production at 5,900,000 tonnes actual weight and ending stocks at 888,000 tonnes.

“Drought conditions are severe in the Pacific region, and dryness is a problem in other areas,” the USDA said. “Greater fertilizer and other input use than in 2022-23 is projected to keep production higher than last year’s poor showing.”