Sugar production is revised down to 10.2 million metric tons in MY2011/12 and will likely decline to 9.9 million metric tons in MY2012/13.
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Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number: TH2098
Rey Santella Agricultural Attaché
Ponnarong Prasertsri Agricultural Specialist
TH2098 – Sugar production is revised down to 10.2 million metric tons in MY2011/12 and will likely
decline to 9.9 million metric tons in MY2012/13 due to lower-than-expected sugarcane production
resulting from unfavorable weather conditions. Sugar consumption is also revised down to 2.5-2.6
million metric tons in anticipation of an economic slowdown in 2012 and 2013. Sugar exports in
MY2011/12 are expected to reach 9.0 million metric tons raw value (MMTRV). However, MY2012/13
sugar exports are likely to slightly decline to 8.5 MMTRV due to a reduction in sugarcane production.
MY2011/12 and MY 2012/13 sugar production is revised down to 10.2 million metric tons and 9.9
million metric tons, respectively, due to lower-than-expected sugarcane production. Sugarcane
production is lower than expected in MY2011/12 crop which is estimated at 98.4 million metric tons.
MY2012/13 sugarcane production is likely to further decline to 95.0 – 96.0 million metric tons, down
3.0 percent from the previous year, due to unfavorable weather conditions particularly during the mid-
season growing period. Despite the lower sugarcane production, the average extraction rate of
sugarcane is expected to increase to around 104.5 kg/ton of cane in anticipation of normal rainfall
during the ripening stage.
Sugar consumption is also revised to 2.5 million metric tons in MY2011/12 and 2.6 million metric tons
in MY2012/13 in anticipation of an economic slowdown in the second half of 2012 and in 2013. Sugar
exports during January-May 2012, however, are expected to be up 37.3 percent from last year,
particularly for raw sugar which account for 70.0 percent of total sugar exports due to limited export
supplies from Brazil and India. Sugar exports will likely reach 9.0 million metric tons raw value
(MMTRV) in MY2011/12. Meanwhile, MY2012/13 sugar exports are revised down to 8.5 MMTRV
due to lower-than-expected sugar production caused by drought conditions.
The Government is now considering a new soft loan program that will enable cane growers to buy
harvesters and improve their production efficiency. The program is estimated to cost 3.0 billion baht
($100 million) which will be financed by the state-run Cane and Sugar Fund. The Thai Government
operated a similar 2.0 billion baht ($66 million) program during the FY2010 – 2012 period.
Sugar Cane for Centrifugal
According to the official MY2011/12 crushing report by the Office of Cane and Sugar Board (OCBD),
sugarcane production is lower than expected at 98.4 million metric tons (Table 1). This resulted in a
downward revision of sugar production to 10.2 million metric tons (Table 2). An estimated 0.4 million
metric tons of sugarcane was used for ethanol production.
The average sugarcane extraction rate increased to 104.5 kg/ton of cane, up 3.1 percent from 101.3
kg/ton of cane from the previous year, due to normal weather conditions during the ripening period.
MY2012/13 sugarcane production is revised downward to 95.0 – 96.0 million metric tons, down 3.0
percent from the previous year due to a lack of rain during the stalk elongation stage. Below normal
precipitation during the June-August 2012 period in the major growing areas in the north, northeast, and
the central plain regions (Figure 1) will likely affect average yields which are expected to decline to11.3
tons/rai (70.7 tons/hectare). Most of the sugarcane harvest will be primarily used for sugar production
and a small amount will be used for ethanol production (see TH2064 “Biofuel Annual 2012”).
Sugarcane use for ethanol production will remain low as sugar prices continue to be more attractive than
ethanol prices. Presently, there is only one sugarcane based ethanol plant operating in Thailand using
0.4 – 0.5 million metric tons of cane/year.
MY2012/13 sugar production is expected to decline to 9.9 million metric tons, down 2.9 percent from
the previous year, due to lower-than-expected sugarcane production. The sugarcane extraction rate will
likely remain the same as the previous year in anticipation of normal weather conditions during the
ripening stage. Four new sugar facilities that received government licenses in 2010 – 2011 are expected
to start operating in MY2012/13. The number of sugar mills in Thailand will increase to 51 with a total
crushing capacity of approximately 1.0 million metric tons of cane/day, compared to the previous total
crushing capacity of 0.9 million metric tons of cane/day.
The Government has revised its economic growth downward to 5.3–5.8 percent in 2012, compared to its
prior forecast of 5.5– 6.5 percent, due to the global economic slowdown in the second half of the year.
As a result, MY2011/12 and 2012/13 sugar consumption is revised down to 2.5 million tons and 2.6
million tons, respectively. The economy is expected to continue slowing down to 4.7–5.7 percent in
2013. Nonetheless, in the first half of 2012, total sugar consumption increased 6.0 percent, slightly
behind the expected annual growth rate of around 8.0 percent from the previous forecast. The lower
consumption is due to lower-than-expected sugar demand by food manufacturers which account for
around 12.0 percent of total sugar consumption. Food manufacturers’ demand for sugar declined
around 6.0 percent in the first half of 2012. On the other hand, household sugar consumption, which
accounts for 50-60 percent of total sugar consumption, increased 10.4 percent from the previous year.
During January-May 2012, Thai sugar exports increased significantly to 4.5 MMTRV, up 37.3 percent
from the same period last year (Table 4) due to an increase in planted acreage and smaller sugar exports
from Brazil and India. Raw sugar exports, which account for around 70.0 percent of total sugar exports,
increased 47.7 percent from last year (Table 5), particularly to China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and
Thailand filled its FY2012 U.S. sugar tariff-rate quota (TRQ) of 15,027 metric tons raw value (MTRV)
in April and additional allocations of 7,834 MTRV in July. In addition, Thailand’s white and refined
sugar exports increased to 1.3 MMTRV during January–May 2012, up 16.3 percent from last year,
particularly to Cambodia, China, Laos, and Malaysia (Table 6). MY2011/12 sugar exports will likely
increase to 9.0 MMTRV, unchanged from the previous forecast. White and refined sugar exports will
likely increase approximately 20.0 percent to 3.0 MMTRV in MY2011/12.
MY2012/13 sugar exports are revised downward to 8.5 MMTRV, down 5-6 percent from the previous
year, due to an anticipated smaller sugarcane crop. Raw sugar exports are also expected to decline 8.0
percent from the previous year. Thailand is expected to fill its FY2013 (October 1, 2012 – September
30, 2013) U.S. sugar TRQ of 15,027 MTRV.
MY2011/12 and MY2012/13 sugar imports are revised down to marginal levels of around 5,000 MTRV
due to sufficient domestic supplies and an economic slowdown. Thailand subjects imported sugar to a
65 percent tariff rate and a quota of 13,760 metric tons. The out-of-quota tariff is 94 percent.
Sugar stocks will likely decline to 1.7 million metric tons in MY2011/12 and further decline to 0.6
million metric tons in MY2013/13 due to an increase in sugar exports and a reduction in sugarcane
The Government still maintains its sugar policy which set prices at 19 baht/kg ($29 cent/lb) for refined
sugar, ex factory wholesale (excluding 7 percent value added tax). Retail sugar prices (including the
value-added tax) are set at 21.85 baht/kg ($33 cent/lb) for white sugar and 22.85 baht/kg ($35 cent/lb)
for refined sugar (Table 9). The Government uses the value-added tax revenues to repay the Bank for
Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperative (BAAC) for cost incurred by the state-run Cane and Sugar
Fund which funds the price support program and the direct payment program. The Government has not
yet finalized the MY2012/13 sugarcane support prices which are expected to be above 1,000 baht/ton.
The Government completed its three-year soft loan program with the BAAC (FY2010 – 2012) which
enabled cane growers to buy harvesters and improve their production efficiency. The program provided
approximately 2.0 billion baht ($66 million) in loans to cane growers. Most of the loans were used to
purchase new and used cane harvesters mainly from the US and Australia. The Thai Government is
considering a new soft loan program of 3.0 billion baht ($100 million) funded by the Cane and Sugar
Fund which will continue to allow cane growers to buy harvesters. Thai sugarcane growers see the
program as essential to their future, especially as four new sugar facilities will come online and increase
milling capacity from 0.9 million tons of cane/day to 1.0 million tons of cane/day starting in
To assist sugar farmers in the former mining area of Tak (northern Thailand), the Thai Cabinet approved
a 78 million baht ($2.5 million) subsidy program that provides cane growers 200 baht/ton ($6.5/MT) to
produce sugar for ethanol production. The program is intended to help cane growers an in area that is
unsuitable for the production of edible crops due to the pollution and environmental damage in the
region. Sugarcane growers farming approximately 47,000 rai (7,520 hectares) are expected to benefit
from the program.
End of report