China's sugar imports fell more than a third in the first half as a rise in domestic output made local prices of the sweetener less than the cost of imports, the government said.
China, the world's largest sugar producer after Brazil and India, imported 344,000 metric tons of sugar in the first half, mostly raw grades for refining into white sugar. That compared with 564,000 tons a year earlier, Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant Co, an agriculture ministry affiliate, said in a report.
"Domestic output has surged, which has lowered prices," said Pan Wenqing, a Beijing Orient analyst.
China's sugar output in the year ended on May 31 rose by almost a quarter to a record as higher prices in 2001 and 2002 prompted farmers to plant more sugar cane and sugar beet. That's pulled domestic raw sugar prices down by about 30 percent over the past year to 1,578 yuan (US$190) a ton, or below the average imported sugar price of 1,970 yuan.
(eastday.com July 31, 2003)