Understanding the international sugar market

Campos Osorio, A. | SEP 2023


The behavior of the international sugar market, like that of any other agricultural product, is determined by supply and demand, currency fluctuations and the weather, among other variables. However, this has a particularity that differentiates it from other agricultural products and raw materials: the distorting measures of the big players, whether they are net importers (China, the European Union and the United States) or net exporters (Brazil, India recently and Thailand ), which translate into subsidies for agricultural production (cane and beets) and sugar exports, as well as the imposition of high tariffs and limited import quotas. Even a country like Brazil, the world's largest producer and exporter, derives a good part of its historical competitiveness in this market from the behavior of its exchange rate. These factors have fundamental implications for countries that, due to their low relative size, are price takers (such as Colombia), leading them to implement mechanisms to address these distortions, in defense of their national production. This document analyzes these factors, the operation of the sugar market and its impact on price formation in Colombia.

About the authors

Campos Osorio, A.

Director of the economics area of ​​the Association of Sugar Cane Growers of Colombia, Asocaña.

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