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How sweet is the sugar trade?

To a prehistoric caveman, a spoonful of sugar is like a potent drug. Metabolically, upon ingestion, it would increase their heart rate, dilate their pupils, and cause an instantaneous surge of energy. Sugar is found in all plants in one form or another. When plants photosynthesize the sun’s energy, they use carbon dioxide and water to transform it into different types of sugar. Hence, sugar is the essential vehicle of organic energy. According to sugar import export data, $25 billion worth of sugar was traded in 2020. Scope out the evergreen sugar trade for your business with The Trade Vision.

The Trade Vision is a premier data provider and market intelligence company with decades of import-export experience. Access data on the go with our accessible and comprehensive data reports from over 100 countries.

The Evolution of Sugar

The highest quantity of sugar is found in sugarcane and sugarbeets. They are the two most common raw materials used in sugar manufacturing. Sugarcane was first produced on the island of New Guinea which lies near Australia. The oldest records we have of crystallized sugar production are from the Gupta dynasty in India in 350 CE. Sugar has always been a rich source of carbohydrates and a big part of our diet.

Today, sugar is so prevalent in everything we consume that it has resulted in an increased diet, calorie obsession, obesity, diabetes, etc.

Sugar export analysis

When sugar was first introduced in Brazil, it was more valuable than gold. Since then the industry has been thoroughly optimized. Brazil is not only pioneering sugarcane production and sugar manufacturing but also in producing biofuel from residual waste. Sugarcane farming is exceedingly prevalent in the Indian subcontinent. Substantial investment in the industry after the country’s independence has made it a leading exporter. Low shipping prices and high demand in Asia had spurred Thailand to invest in its sugar production. France is leading in sugarbeets production and has been a historic European leader in the sugar trade. Sugar export data suggests that countries with long-standing access to sugarcane are big players to date.

Sugar: Top exporting countries (2020)

  1. Brazil ($8.95 billion)
  2. India ($2.67 billion)
  3. Thailand ($1.83 billion)
  4. France ($1.03 billion)
  5. Australia ($761 million)

Sugar import analysis

The biggest economies of the world have the most significant sugar imports. Here more people are employed in specialized jobs with varied incomes that allow for little to no free time. Sugar is a cheap source of energy and is added to a multitude of packaged edibles. Indonesia is also bumping up its sugar demand to meet its rising consumer spending and manufacturing activities. The same could be said for Bangladesh with its population growth. Looking at sugar import data we can say that developing countries and vast economies are the leaders of sugar demand.

Sugar: Top importing countries (2020)

  1. United States ($1.95 billion)
  2. China ($1.86 billion)
  3. Indonesia ($1.46 billion)
  4. Italy ($732 million)
  5. Bangladesh ($752 million)

Sugar: What’s in store?

Global sugar export is expected to rise in the year 2023, with increasing output from Thailand and Brazil. Currently, prices are the lowest in Brazil. Meanwhile, India’s exports are thought to marginally decline due to two reasons. Firstly, a delay in the latest sugarcane crushing period caused by excessive rains. Secondly, the beginning of the biofuel called ethanol, which is also extracted from sugarcane. Fuel with 20% ethanol is likely to be sold in select outlets within the next two months in India. Lastly is the Covid situation in China, where restrictions are currently being eased, which will be an affecting factor in the demand and supply of sugar.