Global sugar consumption rises by about 2% per year, and has increased 17% from 128 million tons in year 2000 to 150 million in 2006. The highest sugar consumption per capita is found in Brazil (59 kilograms of sugar per year), Mexico (53) and Australia (50).

Top Ten Sugar Producers

Below are the leading sugar producers for 2005-6. These producers accounted for nearly 80% of the global sugar total of 150 million tons in 2005-6. (The international sugar season runs from September to August.)

  • Brazil … 30 million tons (20% of global sugar production)
  • European Union … 22 million (14.7%)
  • India … 20 million (13.3%)
  • China … 10 million (6.6%)
  • United States … 7 million (4.6%)
  • Mexico … 6 million (4%)
  • South African Development Community (SADC) … 5.7 million (3.8%)
  • Australia … 5.4 million (3.6%)
  • Thailand … 5 million (3.3%)
  • Russia … 2.7 million (1.8%)

Top producers that also export the highest percentage of their sugar production are Australia (76%), Brazil (59%), Thailand (52%) and the European Union (37%). In contrast, India and Mexico each export just over 5% while China, U.S. and Russia do not sell processed sugar to foreign markets.

Top Ten Sugar Exporters

Below are the leading sugar exporters for 2005-6.

  • Brazil … 17.7 million tons (39% of global sugar exports)
  • European Union … 8.1 million (18%)
  • Australia … 4.1 million (9%)
  • Thailand … 2.6 million (5.8%)
  • SADC … 1.6 million (3.6%)
  • Guatemala … 1.5 million (3.3%)
  • India … 1.4 million (3.1)
  • Persian Gulf … 1.3 million (2.9%)
  • South Africa … 1.3 million (2.9%)
  • Cuba … 1.2 million (2.7%)

International Sugar Trade Outlook

Brazil continues to dominate international sugar markets, spurred on by demand for sugar-based ethanol. In 2006-7, Thailand is expected to increase sugar exports by almost 30% due to larger sugar cane crops. Although India has increased its sugar production by 12%, the Indian government banned sugar exports until April 2007 as a way to constrain the rise of domestic sugar prices.

The European Union failed to meet its responsibilities under the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture. Consequently, the World Trade Organization now restricts the European Union’s subsidized exports of sugar to about 1.4 million tons per year.

Despite this dramatic decline in EU sugar exports, increased shipments from Brazil, Thailand and India are expected to mitigate any adverse effects on international sugar markets.

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