EU seen exporting sugar to Middle East, Africa after quotas end
* EU sugar production linked to prices of alternative crops
* Big swings in EU sugar output seen after 2017
* Bloc's sugar exports could find markets as far as Asia
By David Brough
LONDON, Aug 8 (Reuters) - The European Union, a net sugar importer, could emerge as a major exporter of white sugar to the Middle East and Africa after production quotas are lifted in 2017, eroding the market share of northern hemisphere refineries.
The EU is expected to end sugar production quotas - currently at some 14 million tonnes per year - as part of reforms to create a freer sugar market.
Analysts said the volume of EU sugar exports after the lifting of quotas would be linked to growers' assessments of international sugar prices relative to alternative crops such as grains, as well as production and freight costs.
Some analysts said they believed the EU had the potential to export some 2 million tonnes a year after quotas are lifted.
"When world sugar prices are high, EU beet farmers will export a lot of sugar - and vice versa," said Robin Shaw, soft commodities analyst with broker Marex Spectron. Continuación...