The Sugar Market


Currently, about 110 countries produce sugar from either cane or beet, and eight countries produce sugar from both cane and beet. Sugarcane, on average, accounts for nearly 80% of global sugar production. Last October/September season the top ten producing countries (India, Brazil, Thailand, China, the US, Mexico, Russia, Pakistan, France, Australia)  accounted for nearly 70% of global output.

Sugar crops offer production alternatives to food, such as livestock feed, fibre and energy, particularly biofuels (sugar-based ethanol) and co-generation of electricity(cane bagasse). Sugarcane is generally regarded as one of the most significant and efficient sources of biomass for biofuel production. A wide range of environmental and social issues are connected with sugar production and processing, and sugar crop growers, processors, plus energy and food companies, are seeking ways to address concerns related to sugar production, biofuels and sustainability.


Between 2001 and 2018, world sugar consumption increased from 123.454 mln tonnes to 172.441 mln tonnes, the equivalent to an average annual growth of 2.01%. However, the second half of the current decade has seen a considerable deceleration in world sugar consumption growth to less than 0.84% per annum (average for 2016-2018), while no growth has been for 2018. 

Major sugar consuming markets include India, the EU, China, Brazil, the US, Indonesia, Russia, Pakistan, Mexico and Egypt.  

The most important drivers which influence sugar demand include:

  • population growth,
  • per capita incomes,
  • the price of sugar and alternative sweeteners, and 
  • health concern debate. 

International Trade

World sugar trade averages about  64 mln tonnes/year. Raw sugar accounts for around 60% of internationally trade volumes. Although many countries produce sugar,  top five exporters (Brazil, Thailand, EU, Australia, India) were responsible on average for nearly 70% of the world trade in 2016-18. Brazil, as the largest producing and exporting country in the world, dominates world trade, accounting for about 45% of global exports.

Indonesia, China the United States were world’s largest importing nations in 2018.

PP Woven Bag for sugar packaging at Tan Hung JSC

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