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Brazil sugar depot fire impacts world markets
October 19, 2013, 3:18 am

Brazil is one of the world's largest exporters of sugar [Getty Images]

Brazil is one of the world’s largest exporters of sugar [Getty Images]

An early morning fire at the Santos port 80km from São Paulo, Brazil on Friday quickly spread to envelope and partially destroy six sugar warehouses owned by Copersucar SA, one of the world’s largest sugar traders.

The company issued a statement confirming that nearly 180,000 tonnes of sugar were consumed by the fire and said that the damage to the warehouses have halted its loading operations. Other sources said that the final tally in destroyed sugar could reach 300,000 tonnes, but this has not yet been confirmed.

Although it did not specify how long it would take to repair the damage, experts say that it could take up to six months for Copersucar SA to resume normal operations at the Santos port.

It took six hours for the blaze to be brought under control, but flames might not be fully extinguished for another two days, fire officials said.

International markets reacted quickly to the crisis; raw sugar prices jumping more than 6 per cent to a one-year high before stabilising at 2.6 per cent gain. The raw sugar futures market is worth over $17.5 billion;

Copersucar, which harvests sugar from 47 mills and in 2011-2012 exported 5.12 million tonnes, had already suffered a drop in harvest due to extensive rains this past summer.

In July, heavy rains stalled work in sugar fields in the largest growing region of Brazil’s Centere South; output fell by nearly 9 per cent, and raw sugar forces jumped 11 per cent.

Source: Agencies

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