The crisis over a scarcity of sugar deepened yesterday after Indonesia, one of the world’s leading importers, was unable to buy a single pound of the sweetener in its latest tender.
The setback sent the price of white sugar in London to an all-time high of $760 a tonne. The cost of raw sugar in New York hit a fresh 29-year high of 29.82 cents a pound. Sugar prices have surged 150 per cent since January 2009.
Leading importers in south-east Asia, the Middle East and west Africa are running out of sugar inventories, traders and brokers said, prompting fresh tenders to replenish stocks. Pakistan will tender next month and others are expected to follow.
“If they don’t buy soon, the next stop is an empty shelf,” said Peter de Klerk at London-based sugar merchant Czarnikow.
Shortages are emerging in some Asian countries, according to local reports. Among the main importers, only Egypt appears to have covered its needs.