The original euphoria following the liberalization of the European Union’s sweetener market was met with a cold splash of reality: record world sugar output in 2017/18, with 2018/19 forecast near that, yielding a combined surplus of more than 21 million metric tons of sugar.

EU production has been resilient, though both weather and cheap world sugar had been expected to curb plantings and yields. The 2018/19 crop faced both planting delays due to rains and now a second year of extremely high temperatures. Based on our own estimates, no major producer country will see output gains in 2018/19.

The EU quota system was set in place in 1968; reforms began in 2006 as the various regulatory systems began to be phased out. Prior to the end of the quota system, the EU already produced roughly about half the world’s beet sugar. In 2017, nine cane sugar refineries also operated in EU member countries, according to the European Commission.

EU sugar production & use history

Source: FAS
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