WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture in its March 8 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report made significant changes to US and Mexican sugar supply forecasts while also raising its US sugar use forecast, resulting in considerably tighter stocks in 2022-23.

The USDA forecast 2022-23 US beet sugar production at 5,160,157 tons, raw value, up 59,941 tons from February based on higher sucrose recovery rates from the 2022 sugar beet crop.

“Sucrose recoveries in all regions are above average with the recovery in the Red River Valley region likely to be record high,” the USDA said.

Cane sugar production was forecast at 4,150,000 tons, up 19,000 tons from February as higher output in Florida and Louisiana more than offset lower production in Texas.

Total 2022-23 domestic sugar production was forecast at 9,310,000 tons, up 79,000 tons, or 0.9%, from February and up 153,000 tons, or 1.7%, from 2021-22.

Imports in 2022-23 were forecast at 3,330,000 tons, down 133,573 tons from February. Imports from Mexico were forecast at 1,306,000 tons, down 171,000 tons from February. Tariff-rate quota imports were forecast at 1,618,000 tons, up 7,000 tons, and high-tier imports were forecast at 155,630 tons, up 31,000 tons “on a larger-than-anticipated import pace for refined sugar.”

Total sugar supply in 2022-23 was forecast at 14,460,000 tons, down 54,000 tons from February and down 48,000 tons from 2021-22.

Sugar deliveries for food in 2022-23 were forecast at 12,600,000 tons, up 100,000 tons from February “on the strong pace through January,” the USDA said. Other delivery sectors were unchanged with total deliveries forecast at 12,740,000 tons, up 100,000 tons from February.

The 2022-23 ending stocks-to-use ratio was forecast at 13.5%, down from 14.8% in February and down from 14.3% in 2021-22.

As expected, Mexico’s 2022-23 sugar production was reduced sharply from February, with exports, domestic use and ending stocks also lowered. Sugar production in 2022-23 was forecast at 5,485,000 tonnes, actual weight, down 415,000 tonnes from February and down 700,000 tonnes from 2021-22.

“The campaign has been off the mark since its start with the USDA estimating the pace through the end of December at least 15% behind the pace established over the preceding nine years,” the USDA said. “Since then, area harvested has recovered. Sugar cane yields continue to be far below normal. Sucrose recovery has been poor as well but is slowly recovering over the course of the campaign.”

The USDA forecast Mexico’s 2022-23 domestic sugar use at 4,438,000 tonnes, down 222,000 tonnes from February, and exports at 1,121,278 tonnes, down 147,000 tonnes, “with almost all expected for shipment to the United States under export license.” Mexico’s export limit to the United States under the US-Mexico suspension agreements was projected at 1,117,635 tonnes, with production of “other” sugar with less than 99.2 polarity at 784,000 to 805,200 tonnes, or 70% to 72%, of the export limit.

“Refined sugar making up the remainder of the allocation (to the United States) implies offsetting domestic use reductions,” the USDA said. “USDA projects lower deliveries to the IMMEX program and lower ending stocks.”

Ending stocks in 2022-23 were forecast at 925,000 tonnes, down 46,000 tonnes from February and down 39,000 tonnes from 2021-22.