Sugar price fall ‘won't hurt us'

VOLATILE global sugar markets forcing prices down are not predicted to impact Clarence cane growers this year, according to NSW Cane Growers Association president Vince Castle.

Mr Castle said 50% of this year's crop had already been forward sold for good prices, and another quarter of the harvest had sold, achieving good returns.

"We forward sold half of the crop and we are well through the season now so I would think that this year's prices would be quite good," he said.

"I think this year the prices will hold up pretty well, but in 2012 if the prices are down we will feel it then. But people have to keep in mind that we are coming off historically pretty high prices.

"So we always knew prices had to come down. It just remains to be seen how far they do come down. At this stage it's not likely to be disastrous or anything like that. I think prices will come back to a more realistic level in the next 12 months."

Mr Castle said the NSW industry was in a fortunate position as it did not export any of its harvest overseas.

He said despite being only 5% of the national sugar industry in area, NSW cane growers supplied 25% of the nation's sugar production. NAB agribusiness general manager Khan Horne said the value of the falling Australian dollar had offset some of the $US price drop for Australian growers.

"On world markets investors view sugar as a risk asset, and with the recent downgrades to global economic growth and heightened market volatility, investors have abandoned it," he said.



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