Trevor Turner
Trevor Turner

Growers on price rollercoaster

FOR the Fraser Coast's legion of canegrowers it's very much a case of so close and yet so far away.

Sugar prices have scaled unprecedented heights during the past eight weeks but above-average rainfall on the Fraser Coast in 2010 leaves growers here stewing over what might have been.

There is still about 200,000 tonnes of cane to be harvested by Maryborough cane-growers this season.

“There have been very high prices on offer during the last couple of months but the wet weather has not allowed growers to take advantage,” Trevor Turner, the manager of Canegrowers Maryborough, said yesterday.

The price of sugar soared to 33c per pound at one stage last Friday but had tumbled to 26c per pound by Monday.

The volatility continued yesterday with the price on the up again.

“There has been speculation that India and some Europeans will start exporting sugar but I think it is probably speculators trying to cash in on the market,” Mr Turner said, trying to make sense of the volatility. “But I could be wrong.”

A delayed crop in India because of incessant rain and a low quality crop in Brazil have also been touted as underlying factors in the price shake-up.

The wet weather here has also created uncertainty about how much of the remaining crop will be harvested before season's end.

“It is difficult to go and price it now. We could end up with the embarrassing situation of having no harvested crop to offer.

“The sugar content in the crop is dropping.”

About 78 per cent of this season's crop has been priced. About 50 per cent has been priced for the 2011 season, with 20 per cent and 10 per cent locked in for 2012 and 2013 respectively.



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