Surging U.S. sugar price to boost food company costs -trade group

jueves 23 de octubre de 2014 15:45 GYT

By Chris Prentice

NEW YORK Oct 23 (Reuters) - Food manufacturers such as Mondelez International and J.M. Smucker Co. will face billions of dollars of additional costs this year due to soaring sugar prices, according to estimates from a sugar buyers group.

U.S. sugar prices have surged 40 percent since the U.S. sugar industry initiated a trade case with Mexico. That will cost food manufacturers an additional $2.4 billion in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, according to a Thursday report from the Sweetener Users Association.

The U.S. Commerce Department in August made a preliminary decision to impose countervailing, or anti-subsidy, duties on sugar from Mexico in response to allegations from the U.S. sugar industry that Mexican mills were dumping cheap, subsidized sugar into the U.S. market.

Domestic prices for refined sugar have jumped about 7.6 cents a lb since the cases were filed, translated to an additional $837 million in sugar costs for food manufacturers, said Tom Earley, a food policy consultant at Agralytica in Virginia and author of the report.

Industry pressure and tensions have mounted ahead of the Friday deadline for the Department's initial determination on potential dumping duties, which would be added to anti-subsidy duties of up to 17.01 percent.

The costs could grow from there, depending on the size of any the antidumping duties, Earley said on a conference call regarding the report.

"We have the decision coming up on dumping duties. Those would clearly push up prices," he said.

Domestic sugar prices hit multi-year lows last year on surging output in Mexico and the United States. Mexico's sugar mills have had unfettered access to the U.S. market since the 2008 implementation of NAFTA in the sugar market.   Continuación...