China’s sugar imports in September soared 80.1 percent on the same month a year earlier to 660,000 tons, customs data showed on Wednesday [21 October 2015], as a big gap between domestic and overseas prices encouraged buying. But traders said that up to half of the sugar may end up in bonded warehouses, after many buyers failed to get permits to clear customs. Buying by the world’s top sugar importer has surged 55.2 percent in the first nine months to 3.73 million tons on the same period a year earlier. With Chinese sugar prices propped up by government-set cane prices and government restrictions on imports, buyers have consistently made more than $200 per ton on overseas shipments for much of this year…Full Article: The Global Times Oct 2015

Key Points

  • As of 2015, China reportedly had 500,000 MTs to 800,000 MTs of sugar in bonded warehouses waiting for customs duties to be paid.
  • In 2014, China introduced a new registration system that required sugar importers that don’t qualify for the low import tariff quota to secure permits before their sugar clears customs. China is hoping to cap 2015 sugar imports at 3.8 million MTs.

ChinaAg Comment

  • Chinese sugar imports (HS 1701) have been in a resurgence since 2008 when they hit a low of less than 1 million MTs and were valued of US$388 million. In 2009, sugar imports rose to 1.2 million MTs and to 1.9 million MTs by 2010. Values rose in conjunction with volumes, topping US$1 billion in 2010. Brazil emerged as China’s top supplier of raw sugar (HS 1701.1), surpassing Cuba in 2010. South Korea remained the top supplier of refined sugar (HS 1701.9), although Brazil and Thailand emerged as solid secondary suppliers.

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