14 April 1999
Brazil muscles in on Aussie sugar

A CHANGE in the pattern of world sugar trade, collapsing prices and poor weather in a key production area have combined to threaten Australias sugar industry.

The Financial Times reports that Brazil has muscled into Australias Asian markets on the back of increased production and a depreciation of the Brazilian currency.

Australia is facing that problem while witnessing a 40% fall in world sugar prices this year.

The countrys actual production has also been hit over the past two years by wet weather in its main sugar growing state of Queensland.

Australia exported 4.5 million tonnes of sugar in 1997/98 making it the worlds second largest sugar exporter, after Brazil.

Sugar is Australias fifth most important farm export, generating A$1.66bn (US$1.05bn) in export revenues in 1997/98.