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Thailand's Feb sugar exports climb 27% on month: TSMC

Singapore — Thailand's sugar exports climbed 27% month on month to 597,273 mt in February, according to shipment data released by the Thai Sugar Mills Corporation.

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Indonesia was the largest importer of Thai raw sugar in February at 395,540 mt, up 81.6% on the month, compared with 72,800 mt in January.

The weak shipments in January was mainly attributed to the delay in the issuance of import license to refiners, with only 1.4 million mt being released in first-half 2019 compared with actual raw imports of 2.7 million mt during the same period last year.

According to first-half March vessel line-up data, Indonesia had imported 526,334 mt of Thai raw sugar. This would mean that the country's refiners are currently left with 353,665 mt of raw sugar for import in the first half of the year, assuming that the government does not issue any special licenses.

Indonesia, the largest importer of Thai raw sugar, imported 4.04 million mt from Thailand in 2018, up 63% year on year, Thai Sugar Millers Corporation data showed. The country accounted for 65% of total Thai raw sugar exports in 2018.

Thai white sugar exports dipped 4.19% on the month to 165,148 mt in February, due to the lackluster demand from destination markets such as Myanmar and Taiwan. Exports for Thai whites fell significantly by 78.75% compared with the previous year, with flows to Myanmar and Taiwan at 15,770 mt and 15,936 mt, down 57% and 49%, respectively.

The lack of traction on cross border flows to China since the beginning of the year, coupled with no re-export licenses from Myanmar, have resulted to little offtakers in the Thai whites market.

However, several traders noted that white sugar demand from Taiwan had picked up recently in March. As a result, this has supported the cash premium of Thai white sugar.

Thai 45i cash premiums for April loading breakbulk cargoes were assessed at $5/mt over the London No. 5 May (K) futures contract, S&P Global Platts data showed.

--Brian Ng, brian.ng@spglobal.com

--Edited by Norazlina Juma'at, norazlina.jumaat@spglobal.com