SAO PAULO, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Chinese food processor and commodities trader COFCO Agri projects China will produce more sugar in the 2016/17 crop than in the previous season and says it's likely that the government will sell more sugar from its stocks.
Mauricio Sacramento, COFCO's sugar trading head, said in a presentation during LMC's international sugar seminar in Sao Paulo that China's sugar production in the 2016/17 crop should reach 9.21 million tonnes versus 8.66 million tonnes previously.
He sees total Chinese consumption little changed at 15.4 million tonnes in 2016/17, leaving the gap to be filled by imports or public stocks at around 6.2 million tonnes.
"The government has already released 520,000 tonnes from stocks, so imports should fall to around 5.7 million tonnes for now," Sacramento said.
The trader believes the Chinese government will sell more of its stocks, which he put at around 7 million tonnes, after receiving favorable values in recent sales.
But Sacramento does not see a change in the near term on Chinese sugar imports.
"China will continue to be a large sugar importer in the next years. The current situation is not going to change much," he said, despite an ongoing investigation by the Chinese government on imports that it sees as excessive.
Sacramento does not believe the investigation will result in safeguards or additional import taxes on product from producing countries being investigated, such as Brazil and Australia. (Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Dan Grebler)