Historically a major sugar supplier, Thailand saw its exports climb above 10 MMT in 2018 and 2019 thanks to back-to-back crops above 14 MMT. Drought lowered its 2019/20 crop to a ten-year low of under 8.3 MMT, however, halving its exports that season. With poor rains continuing, production was lower still in 2020/21, capping exports below 6 MMT.
Improved rains this year could allow a rebound of the 2021/22 crop to above 9.0 MMT per our estimate—10.6 MMT per USDA. A bigger crop could allow exports to climb to a three-year high of around 7.0 MMT.
Notably, the Thai government has been making moves to increase its fuel ethanol production and use—doubtless inspired by the growth of fuel ethanol use in India. Fuel ethanol is attractive for countries seeking to reduce dependence on ag exports and fuel imports while also making their cane industry more resilient and less dependent on subsidies or bailouts.
Such subsidies have resulted in multiple WTO complaints against India. For Thailand, subsidies have been the subject an antidumping and anti-subsidy investigations in Vietnam that could lead to retroactive tariffs and to antidumping and countervailing duties.
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