Sampling condensed vapours and condenser waters is never easy. Beale (1959, 1962) and Claire (1965, 1967) mention practical difficulties encountered. Vapour sampling involves iso-kinetic (constant velocity) principles which require sophisticated equipment to obtain representative condensed vapour samples. Most workers have sampled condensates and condenser waters, using simplified sampling equipment. One of the problems associated with condenser waters is that the inlet water usually contains sugar. The large volumes of water and low concentrations of sugar can cause serious errors. A simple calculation illustrates the difficulty; we assume that the condenser inlet and outlet waters contain 70ppm of sugar, that 1 ton of vapour requires 30 tons of inlet water, and that the analytical precision is ±1ppm.
Consensus from analysts (e.g. Rabobank, Fo Licht, Macquarie, Commonwealth Bank of Australia) remain that with the world awash with sugar, and stocks amply replenished from four years of surplus, this will continue to generate negative pressure on prices for the time being. For the foreseeable future, it is unlikely that the global sugar price will hover beyond 12-13 cents/lb. The market over the past few months has been currency-driven with strong US dollar against weakening Brazilian real driving sugar producers to maintain with the commodity, rather than switching to ethanol, as prices remain relatively attractive. But as Morgan Stanley has maintained, “the Brazilian real would need to weaken to at least 3.90 [against the dollar] to render the industry profitable.” Rabobank notes that “tighter import regulations by governments in main destinations like China and Indonesia have led to the reining in of raw sugar imports from refiners in these countries.”
Elizabeth Abbot’s “bittersweet history” of sugar is a compelling read1. The section on “slave-sugar complex” is a testimony of crimes against humanity that history witnesses time and time again. For […]
Lately, the key driver for falling sugar price has been the sharp fall in the Brazilian real. The drop in sugar price has mirrored the drop in the value of real which has weakened from 2.20 to 3.30 to the dollar in the past 6 months. The price of sugar fell to US12.7¢ per pound on 13th March, the lowest since March 2009 when the real hit a 12-year low against the US dollar. Since late January, the sugar price has dropped 20%, which is now below the cost of production for producers in Australia, who export 80% of their output.
According to FO Licht’s latest forecast, the sharpest decrease in output is expected in South America, where total output is seen falling by 3.4 mln tonnes year-on-year to 44.2 mln. Bulk of the reduction is from Brazil where sugar output fell 6.8% on the year to 31.956 mln tonnes (34.267).