Sugar Surplus & Lower Prices Dominate Market

Sep 23 2014

Beet Field


Market Position
The global demand to buy sugar continues to be weak due to a high level of stocks held by importing countries which is resulting in continuing falling domestic prices. The northern hemisphere cane harvest is now complete and the Brazilian Centre/South harvest is ahead of schedule, although sugar exports are down compared to this time last year. Favourable weather conditions across Colombia, EU, India and Pakistan has resulted in a very good prospect for the 2014/15 harvest. The market is telling producers and traders to store, rather than sell at today’s low prices, with stock carry over around 53 mln tonnes after four consecutive seasons of surplus. The estimate for the 2014/15 crop surplus is 2.6 mln tonnes of sugar.

In the UK, Beet farmers are preparing for what could be a record harvest with processing having just begun. Approximately 7.5 mln tonnes of beet will be delivered from 3,600 growers to be processed over the next five months. Increasing number of farmers are achieve record yields in excess of 100 tonnes per hectare compared to the once ambitious target set of 70 tonnes per ha, following the reforms in 2005. Wheat yields in comparison have plateaued for the last 20 years. However the future will be a challenge with a 24% price reduction next year and the abolition of sugar beet quotas in 2017. The UK estimate for sugar produced will be at least 1.3 million tonnes. Throughout Europe the 2013/14 season has experienced falling prices, down 22% over the year as a result of large stocks and higher preferential imports from EPA-EBA origins and Colombia. Production estimates for 2014/15 EU beet campaign is 18.2 million tonnes, an exceptional figure, due to perfect weather conditions.

Crushing which began in April continues to be affected by drought which is limiting the cane development and return on yields, but benefiting a high crushing pace which will result in a short tail end to the harvest, this compares with very wet conditions during the first half of last year’s crop. The estimates for 2014/15 sugar produced is down 8.6% (from 546 mln tonnes of crushed cane) on 2013/14 levels to 32.3 mln tonnes. The diversion of cane to sugar continued to drop to 44.73% due to a significant premium for ethanol sales over sugar for export.

Much needed rainfall over the last few weeks will help yields for the 2014/15 crop, aided by the government’s plan to increase acreage by 10% in the next few years, which will result in at least 11 mln tonnes of sugar being produced. Large crops and insufficient exports over the past three years (down 10% on last year) has resulted in a large build-up of stocks adding to the pressure on millers and traders to clear warehouse before the new harvest in November.

Recent rains after a poor start to the monsoon season in June has improved the prospects for the 2014/15 crop with replenished reservoirs which will help yields later in the harvest and the 2015/16 plantings. Production could reach 25 mln tonnes, whilst the government has announced an increase on import duties from 15% to 25%, with hopes for a prompt start to the crushing season in late October.

Despite Cyclone Ita damaging around 70% of the Queensland crop the harvest has recovered well aided by heavy rains in mid-August, improving soil moisture after a very dry 2014. This will benefit the health of the 2015/16 crop. Sugar produced for 2014/15 is likely to recover to around 4.3 mln tonnes. Exports of 3.0 mln tonnes of 2013/14 are unlikely to be matched after Indonesia cancelled 400,000 tonnes of bulk raws.

The 2014/15 cane sugar output for the US increased by 105,000 tonnes to 3.26 mln tonnes, with beet sugar remaining at 4.31 mln tonnes, despite the freezing temperatures in the Red River Valley which delayed beet planting. The anti-dumping petition against Mexico will result in a preliminary ruling being announced on 24th October; meanwhile the decision has been made to apply import duties to Mexican sugar entering the US. The threat to Mexican sugar being priced at a premium remains high, although the Mexican producers have stated they would not accept less than a 1.0 mln tonne quota into the US. Mexican cane sugar production for the 2013/14 crop totalled 6 mln tonnes, compared to 7.0 mln tonnes in 2012/13.

Against a backdrop of falling domestic prices the government is likely to cancel its sugar stockpiling policy which currently is almost 50% of consumption. Imports of raw sugar are nearly 50% lower than this time last year. Further, the 2014/15 crop planted areas are 4% lower across the cane growing regions in South East China. Although these regions have experienced good cane growing conditions the 2014/15 crop is unlikely to produce the 13 mln tonnes of sugar that was produced in 2013/14.

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Pure Sugar Energy boost for 2014 British GT Winner

Sep 18 2014

Ecurie Ecosse British GT Champion


Ecurie Ecosse Powered By Black Bull’s Marco Attard is the new Avon Tyres British GT champion after a nerve-jangling afternoon was spent largely on the sidelines at Donington Park’s season finale last weekend (September 13/14).

Despite the legendary Scottish squad’s Barwell Motorsport-run #79 BMW Z4 GT3 suffering only its second non-finish of the season at the two-hour event, Attard’s significant points advantage was enough not only for him to scoop the 2014 Driver’s title but also claim the Blancpain Gentleman Driver Trophy for best-placed Amateur.

Co-driver Alexander Sims was less lucky however, as the non-score relegated him to a still-impressive third in the standings after missing a round earlier in the season. Ecurie Ecosse also finished third in the Teams’ standings having comfortably outpaced the other single-car entrants throughout 2014.

But the weekend and season undoubtedly belonged to Attard who, along with Sims and Snetterton supersub Jonny Cocker, claimed no fewer than four pole positions, three other front row starts, two race wins, two second places, a third and two fourths from the 10 races staged.

Indeed, the final front row start came at Donington courtesy of a combined lap just 0.003sec shy of pole position, which was snatched away by arch title rivals Oman Racing Team in the dying moments of Attard’s Am session on Saturday afternoon.

But with no success penalty to serve during their mandatory race pit-stop, the team were still confident of at the very least matching their rivals, who had no option but to win and hope Ecurie Ecosse finished seventh or lower if they were to steal the title at the death.

Their chances of doing so received a boost after Sunday morning’s warm-up however, when a cracked cylinder head prompted the Barwell and BMW mechanics to perform a record-breaking engine change in time for the race. Incredibly the Z4 GT3 was ready before the start, only to then suffer a related gearbox problem that forced Attard into retirement while running second after just nine laps.

The entire squad then watched on nervously as the Oman Racing Team Aston Martin held its lead, first with Ahmed Al Harthy and then Michael Caine at the wheel. It was still there as the race entered its final stages before finally being overhauled with just 15 laps remaining. Eventually slipping to fourth on the road meant Attard was champion by 10.5 points.

Marco Attard: “This is a fantastic result and just reward for all of the team’s and Alexander’s hard work this year. They absolutely deserve it! Having said that, I feel really disappointed for Alexander that we couldn’t share the title after he missed Snetterton due to official BMW commitments at the Nurburgring 24 Hours. The very rare failure at Donington also meant he wasn’t able to maintain second in the points, which is a great shame. Personally, I’m over the moon and can’t wait to celebrate with everyone who has contributed towards our British GT title.”

Alexander Sims: “What a fantastic season this has been! Understandably we were disappointed with the way the race panned out for us at Donington, but our pace was excellent and a win really was on the cards. Marco and the team have done a superb job all year though, and we built up a very good points cushion heading into the final round that enabled him to clinch the title. All year it’s been really enjoyable to work with the team, who have put so much effort in.

Chris Needell, Barwell Commercial Director: “What an extraordinary weekend, with the whole team riding a rollercoaster of emotions on race day! Although clearly Donington didn’t go according to plan race-wise, we have been the class of the British GT field throughout the season and thoroughly deserve this title. Marco has shown consistently that he is one of the very best Am drivers out there, and Alexander simply did a brilliant job for us both in and out of the car. Also, I should mention Jonny Cocker who stood in superbly for Alexander at Snetterton, and has contributed to this success. We are so proud of our crew; from the engineers through to the tyre guys, they have performed brilliantly all season.”

The British GT crown might be in the bag but Ecurie Ecosse’s 2014 season isn’t over just yet, as this weekend its Blancpain Endurance Series driver crew of Alasdair McCaig, Andrew Smith and Oliver Bryant attempt to claim the Pro-Am class Drivers’ and Teams’ titles at the championship’s Nurburgring season finale.

Final British GT Drivers’ Championship Top 10
1. Marco Attard / Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3 148.5 points
2. Michael Caine/Ahmed Al Harthy / Oman Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 138
3. Alexander Sims / Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3 129.5
4. Jon Minshaw/Phil Keen / Trackspeed Porsche 997 GT3R 121.5
5. Andrew Howard/Jonny Adam / Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3 98
6. Gary Eastwood / FF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia 91.5
7. Pasin Lathouras / AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia 74
8. Matt Bell / United Autosports Audi R8 LMS ultra 58.5
9. Rory Butcher / Oman Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 55.5
10. Paul White/Tom Onslow-Cole / Strata 21 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 53.5

Final British GT Championship Teams’ Top 10
1. Oman Racing Team (x2 cars) 193.5 points
2. Trackspeed (x2 cars) 180
3. Ecurie Ecosse 148.5
4. Beechdean AMR 107
5. AF Corse 104.5
6. FF Corse 103.5
7. Triple 8 90
8. United Autosports 58.5
9. PGF – Kinfaun AMR 58
10. Strata 21 53.5

Final Blancpain Gentleman Driver Trophy Top 10
1. Marco Attard 163.5 points
2. Andrew Howard 133.5
3. Jon Minshaw 132.5
4. Gary Eastwood 109.5
5. Phil Dryburgh 78
6. Paul White 70
7. Derek Johnston 69.5
8. Mark Poole 52
9. Jeff Smith 50
10. Lee Mowle 46

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