WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture in its Dec. 9 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report lowered from November its estimate of 2020-21 and 2021-22 US sugar ending stocks and stocks-to-use ratios with the current year reductions mainly due to lower production in Louisiana.

For 2020-21, which ended Sept. 30, the USDA estimated the ending stocks-to-use ratio at 1,701,915 short tons, raw value, down 26,018 tons from November due mainly to a similar increase in domestic deliveries for food.

“A cane refiner decreased its raw sugar imports for August by 26,295 tons, implying the same sized reduction in ending stocks to 1,701,915 tons,” the USDA said. “The cane refiner revision, along with a small reduction in total imports (277 tons) based on US Census data, results in a 26,018-ton increase in direct consumption (12,135,184 tons).”

The ending stocks-to-use ratio for 2020-21 was lowered to 13.8% from 14% in November.

For 2021-22, changes to domestic sugar production, mainly cane sugar, more than offset mostly minor changes to imports, with all delivery and use forecasts unchanged from November.

Total domestic sugar production for 2021-22 was forecast at 9,241,000 tons, down 91,000 tons from November but still up 11,000 tons from 2020-21. Cane sugar production was forecast at 3,847,000 tons, down 71,592 tons from November due to a like decrease for Louisiana.

“Louisiana cane sugar production for 2021-22 is decreased by 71,592 tons, to 1,712,238, on the NASS (National Agricultural Statistics Service) 4.1% reduction in sugar cane yield,” the USDA said.

Beet sugar production for this year was forecast at 5,393,301 tons, down 19,871 tons from November but still record high.

“Although Sugar Market Data reports that US beet processors increased their estimate of sugar beets harvested, total sugar beets projected for slicing decreased by 135,207 tons, to 33,956,053, due to higher forecast shrink,” the USDA said. “USDA did not change sucrose recovery, sugar from desugared molasses, or 2022 August-September production in projecting production for the fiscal year. USDA can be expected to revise its projection of sucrose recovery next month when slice data through the end of November becomes available from beet processors.”

Sugar imports for 2021-22 were forecast at 3,075,895 tons, up 30,812 tons from November but down about 119,000 tons from 2020-21. Tariff-rate quota imports were forecast at 1,611,000 tons, unchanged from November, with “other program” imports at 250,000 tons, also unchanged.

Imports from Mexico were forecast at 1,064,712 tons, down 19,188 tons from November, while high-tier imports were forecast at 150,000 tons, up 50,000 tons.

“High-tier tariff imports are increased by 50,000 tons on the basis of actual entries of sugar through the beginning of December and an increase in the projected pace of refined sugar imports,” the USDA said.

Total sugar supply in 2021-22 was forecast at 14,018,000 tons, down 87,000 tons from November and down 25,000 tons from 2020-21.

With no changes to projected sugar use for 2021-22, ending stocks were forecast at 1,678,349 tons, down about 87,000 tons from November and down about 24,000 tons from 2020-21. The ending stocks-to-use ratio for the current year was forecast at 13.6%, down from 14.3% in November.

There were no changes made to Mexico’s supply and use estimates for 2020-21 or forecasts for 2021-22. The USDA commented concerning Mexico’s export limit to the United States:

“Calculated US needs implied by the December 2021 US Sugar WASDE as set out in the AD/CVD suspension agreements is 900,253 tonnes (1,051,901 short tons),” the USDA said. “This amount exceeds the export limit of 777,723 tonnes (908,253 tons) established by the Department of Commerce on Nov. 23, 2021. There is an additional export amount of 10,965 tonnes (12,812 tons) from the 2020-21 export allocation to Mexico that was permitted by DOC to enter the United States after Sept. 30.”