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US raises sugar import projection by nearly 500,000 tons

The U.S. Department of Agriculture monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report on July 12, 2022, did not specify where the sugar might come from.

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Workers spray fertilizer in a sugar cane field in Zacatepec de Hidalgo, in Morelos state, Mexico, on May 31, 2017.
Edgard Garrido / Reuters
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday, July 12, increased its estimate for the country's sugar imports in the 2022/23 season by nearly half million short tons, but fell short of saying from where all this sugar will come from.

In its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, the USDA projected the U.S. will import 3.5 million short tons of sugar in the new season that starts in October, up from 3 million tons estimated in June.

The department made the changes looking to bring the market to a less difficult supply situation. In the previous month report, the so-called stocks-to-use ratio — a metric used by the agency to evaluate supplies — was at only 7.6% compared with the level of 13.5% considered adequate.

The USDA expects most of the additional imports to come from Mexico, but said that its neighbor is unlikely to be able to ship all the needed volume. Additional volumes could be opened in the low-duty import quota known as TRQ.

The higher imports are expected even as the department increased local sugar production estimate by 125,000 tons after it adjusted beet sugar planted area considering the new numbers released in the June 30 acreage report.

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U.S. sugar production in 2022/23 is now seen at 8.94 million tons versus 9.11 million tons in 2021/22.

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