* Import licences submitted for “any origin” sugar
* Brazil “CXL” sugar could be imported to EU
By David Brough
LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - EU sugar stocks are tightening, triggering expectations for up to 600,000 tonnes of imports of raw sugar into the bloc over the next year, much of it likely from Brazil, trade sources said on Wednesday.
A recent jump in EU domestic sugar prices, linked to declining EU supplies, will benefit the balance sheets of EU sugar suppliers, they added.
Expectations of a sharp drop in current EU beet sugar production, compared to last year, will erode stocks in the bloc, boosting the need for imports.
“The market sees that it needs those imports over the next year or so, and is moving to the point where that would be viable,” said Gerald Mason, senior vice-president at Tate & Lyle Sugars, a unit of privately owned ASR Group.
In recent years the EU’s import requirements have been subdued due to hefty supplies and stocks.
According to EU data published in June, EU quota sugar stocks at end-September 2016 were forecast at 746,000 tonnes, down from 1.069 million tonnes at end-September 2015.
Trade sources said refiners had applied at the end of September for import licences totalling 254,000 tonnes of “any origin” raw sugar.
The sugar was expected to come from competitive origins such as Brazil and Cuba.
Trade sources said it was possible refiners could apply for import licences for some 335,000 tonnes of so-called “CXL quota” sugar from Brazil if EU prices rose further from current levels of around 500 euros per tonne.
This would bring the import total to almost 600,000 tonnes.
Current EU prices are well above ICE front-month white sugar futures which traded on Wednesday at $385 per tonne.
The CXL import quota is a supply of raw sugar cane that has preferential access to the EU market.
The large majority of CXL quota currently attracts an import duty of 98 euros per tonne.
Trade sources said EU authorities, concerned over dwindling stocks, may also delay issuing further out-of-quota sugar export licences.
The EU has already approved exports of 650,000 tonnes and would normally okay a second, equal tranche in the coming months.
The high domestic sugar price will benefit the balance sheets of EU sugar suppliers, such as Suedzucker AG, Tereos and Associated British Foods, European traders said.
Goldman Sachs has lifted its recommendation on Suedzucker to “buy” from “sell” on expectations that tightening sugar supplies in Europe would prompt price increases. (Reporting by David Brough; Editing by David Evans)