Interim prices

14 April 2000

Interim prices

hit by strong £

INTERIM prices for sugar beet continue to reflect the depressed state of world markets and the impact of the strong £ on manufacturers returns.

The payments, to be credited to growers accounts next week, contain a top-up of just 37p, bringing A and B beet to £29.17/t. Since the interim price was set last September, the £ has strengthened by a further 7%, says BS, eating into the agrimoney allowance.

"We hope to be able to pay a bit more in November," says BS operations support manager Robin Limb. But with Brussels threatening to raise the levy to recoup some of the cost of additional export restitutions, that cannot be guaranteed.

C beet prospects are also grim, with BS sticking by its January estimate of a mere £7/t gross payment. "World sugar prices have halved in the past two years. There is currently a 12m tonne surplus floating around. It is difficult to see where the recovery is coming from," says Mr Limb.

As such, producers will receive just £1.22/t (adjusted) this month, with the final payment due in November.

The third element of the April beet cheque is a deduction of 23.5p/t, reflecting the drop in the value of beet carried forward from last season due to the strengthening £. &#42

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