Cheap freight erodes Thai, Australian sugar export advantage over Brazil
* China is world's top raw sugar buyer
* Australia's advantage as origin for Malaysia reduced
* Prices for shipping are in freefall amid global slowdown
By David Brough
LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Cheap freight is eroding Thai and Australian sugar exporters' competitive advantage over Brazilian suppliers to Far Eastern markets, traders said on Thursday.
Thai raw sugar for March/April shipment was quoted at 25 points ($0.25/lb) over ICE March futures, compared with 10 points over March for Brazilian supplies.
Cheap freight costs mean that Brazilian export offers are almost as competitive as Thai offers in China, the world's top sugar buyer, with Brazilian freight to north China at around $14-15 per tonne, against Thai freight at around $9 per tonne.
"Cheap freight means that Far Eastern premiums are getting cheaper," a senior European trader said.
Another senior European trader said that the spread between raw sugar from Australia to Malaysia, as compared to Brazil to Malaysia, shows Australia has an advantage of $2. Continuación...