World Wide Sugar High Caused By Extreme Weather

sugar n0.11 futures image

Sugar No. 11 Futures. April 2009 to present. Image

Reuters has a food price analysis which mentions in passing that "Sugar also surged to three-decade highs on a squeeze in supplies as a result of crop damage in cyclone-hit Australia and uncertainty over exports from India."

Could this be another reason why they want to rename high fructose corn syrup 'corn sugar?' (Have a look at this Sweetener Cost Calculator to see which beverage brands are most impacted by Peak Sugar.) Nowhere could I find discussion of whether Brazil's penchant for making fuel ethanol out of sugar cane has an impact on cane sugar prices. However, corn prices are going up along with other grains (see graphic below), thanks in part to China's growing consumption and higher demand for corn based ethanol in the USA, Net effect will be increased prices for HFCS.

See U.S. Feeds One Quarter Of Its Grain To Cars While Hunger Is On The Rise for background information on a much larger scale.


Corn futures. Image credit:TFC commodity charts
The no-renaming scenario.
Let's suppose that the effort to rename HFCS to "corn sugar" does not succeed. You can see how important it would be for producers of sweetened beverages and candies to have a way to get some cheaper sweetenings. Roundup ready sugar beets, for example.

Where will the pressure to grow more sweet US crops be? Let's put it this way: on farm lands of the Not-South. Extreme weather, drought in the South and Mid-Atlantic regions, is likely to increase the competition for farm lands of the northern states.

For background information on the dry extremes of US weather, see Much Of US South Experiencing Extreme Drought - Let The Water Wars Begin and also, Let's Talk About That "Ongoing, Mature La Niña" And US Climate Politics