20 Oct 2013

Big port fire triggers blip in global sugar price

7:29 am on 20 October 2013

International spot prices for sugar jumped to a one-year high on Saturday when a fire in Brazil's largest port burned 180,000 tonnes of raw sugar, and damaged six warehouses.

Brazil is the world's main sugar exporter, accounting for nearly half of international sales, the BBC reports.

The terminal affected by the fire belongs to Brazilian sugar giant Copersucar, but four other sugar terminals are operating normally, port authorities said.

Analysts say Brazil has enough port capacity to carry on with its usual export levels.

Sugar prices in New York future markets went up by 6% when news of the fire broke, dropping later in the day.

The authorities in the port of Santos, located some 80km from Sao Paulo, said it took six hours to bring the fire under control.

The cause of the blaze is still being investigated.

Port authorities said that the fire began on a conveyor belt taking raw sugar into one of the warehouses.

They say this is the biggest fire in the history of the port of Santos, which exported 12.8 million tonnes of sugar in the first eight months of the year.