Vietnam sugar producers ask to export amid expected surplus

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Vietnamese sugar producers are seeking permission from the government to export some 30,000 tons of the sweetener, as the country is set to face a surplus this year.

Vietnam is expected to produce a 1.45 million tons of refined sugar in 2012. General Secretary of the Vietnam Sugar and Sugarcane Association Nguyen Hai said there will be a surplus of up to 300,000 tons and the association wants to export 30,000 tons first.

"Some companies have already found buyers but they are still waiting for the approval of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development," he said. "Sugar prices in the world are falling while local consumption slows down and stockpiles grow.

"Many sugar companies are facing capital problems and may have to accept losses to clear their stock," Hai added.

According to the International Sugar Association, after facing consecutive shortages for the past three years, the world market will have a sugar surplus of 5.61 million tons this year as many countries including India and Thailand are expected to produce higher outputs.

Nguyen Thanh Long, chairman of the Vietnam Sugar and Sugarcane Association, said China now has a high demand for sugar, which Vietnamese producers should try to tap.

There have been many instabilities within the sugar industry, with export and import polices failing to address shortage and surplus issues properly, Long said.

"We are seeking more flexible export mechanisms to ensure revenues for producers while keeping the domestic market stable," he said.

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