Philippines offers more raw sugar, Japan seen buying

By Erik dela Cruz and Lewa Pardomuan, Reuters

Posted at Jul 29 2011 04:55 PM | Updated as of Jul 30 2011 12:55 AM

SINGAPORE/MANILA - The Philippines is offering more J-spec raw sugar to potential buyers in Asia at premiums slightly below or on par with the Thai variety, but no fresh deals have been reported, dealers said on Friday.

Philippines sugar producers can export as much as 200,000 tons of raw sugar to the world market this year on top of its U.S. quota commitments as local output is expected to hit a three-year high.

The J-spec variety, or low-quality raw sugar favoured by Japan, was offered by dealers in the Philippines at between 40- and 80-point premiums to New York's October sugar contract.

"We heard that Japanese traders have purchased Philippines sugar, and now the sugar now is being offered at low premiums," said a dealer in Tokyo. "I think they have bought sugar at 60- to 80-point premiums."

Premiums for Thai J-spec raw sugar plunged to 80 points from as high as 500 points in early July on the prospect of more sales from the Philippines, which last exported sweetener to markets other than the United States during the crop year 2007/2008.

It has a US quota commitment of more than 200,000 tons this year.

The Philippines Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) has said Japan had ordered 37,000 tons of raw sugar and Indonesia for 8,500 tons, but industry sources said there were no reports of new shipments.

"We don't have any shipments so far. We have bookings but no physical shipments yet," said Archimedes Amarra, executive director of the Philippines Sugar Millers Association.

"The traders are the ones in charge so we have no idea, no control over the selling price. We don't meddle in that."

Sugar output in the Philippines in 2010/11 (Sept-Aug) has outpaced annual demand of 2.2 million tons, with production at 2.39 million tons as of July 26, SRA data showed.

That would be the highest since crop year 2007/08 when the output reached 2.455 million tons.

"We've been offered Philippines sugar at 100-point premiums and above. We don't really touch J-spec, and I don't think it has been traded. It's just an indicative price," said a dealer in Singapore.

October raw sugar on ICE crumbled 1.21 cents, or 3.9%, to close at 29.92 cents per lb on Thursday on stop-loss sales, while October white sugar on Liffe closed down $14.50, or 1.8%, at $789 per ton.