NEW DELHI, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Sugar deals in Asia have dried up at a time when the world’s top two exporters Brazil and Thailand have ample supplies of the sweetener, with sellers waiting on the sidelines to get a clear idea about price and demand direction in the next few weeks.
Thai high polarisation, or hipol, raw sugar was quoted at 40-50 points below the New York March contract, compared with discounts of 60 points in the past week.
“There has been no trade in the past few days but it is hardly surprising since nearly half-a-million tonnes of Thai sugar was sold just before the expiry of the October contract in New York,” a dealer said by telephone from Singapore.
Bunge Ltd bought 10,405 lots, or about 528,600 tonnes, of raw sugar against the October contract on ICE Futures U.S. that expired on Sept. 30.
Traders estimated that some 500,000 tonnes of Thai sugar had been sold in the cash market ahead of the ICE delivery, which included another 120,600 tonnes from Thailand.
After the expiry of the October contract, sellers have shown only limited interest, as they await firmer clues about prices and demand direction.
“The trade tends to go quiet immediately after the delivery against the front-month contract in New York. In my view, a clear signal could emerge in the next few days or the next few weeks,” the dealer said.
Despite an estimated 500,000 tonnes of Thai sugar sold in the cash market, Bangkok still has a large inventory. As Thailand will try to sell sugar to cut back its stockpiles, rival supplies from the top producer Brazil will intensify competition in the export market.
As a result of four straight years of surpluses, benchmark New York prices on Sept. 17 dropped to their lowest in more than four years.
On Monday, the New York futures were steady, with the March contract trading up 0.03 cents, or 0.2 percent, at 16.58 cents a lb.
Premiums for the low-quality Thai raws favoured by Japanese buyers were at 50 points below New York’s March contract against previous week’s 60 points.
Thai white sugar was at premiums of $12-$13 a tonne to London futures against $15 a tonne in the past week.
“The white sugar trade was also almost muted because of no real market, with only a few containers being sold,” another Singapore dealer said. (Editing by David Evans)