Who is the world’s largest sugar exporter?

Brazil is the world’s largest sugar exporter, with external sales worth 15.747 billion dollars in 2023.

For that country, the amount represented a record, after its previous all-time high of 14,942 million dollars in 2011.

Although sugar is a carbohydrate found naturally in most plants, it is mainly extracted from sugar cane and sugar beet for commercial use. 

Chemically, it is known as sucrose, a disaccharide formed by glucose and fructose molecules.

In Brazil, production is based on sugar cane.

Other major global sugar exporters in 2023 were India (no updated data), Thailand (3,411 million dollars), France (1,336 million) and Germany (944 million).

The tariff classification on which these data are based is cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form.

Sugar exporter

World sugar prices are affected primarily by world sugar supply and demand.

Prices are also significantly influenced by government policy and international trade agreements, speculative actions, foreign exchange rates, and factors related to crop yields. 

Sugar is mainly used as a sweetener in human food and also in the production of fuel ethanol. 

Global demand for sugar is influenced by the level of human consumption of sweetened foods and beverages and, to a lesser extent, by the level of demand for sugar as a base for fuel ethanol

Ethanol production

The National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP) regulates the production and distribution of ethanol in Brazil. 

Ethanol production requires several activities, such as the development of special sugarcane varieties, cultivation techniques, flexible fuel engine technology, processing, storage and distribution. 

In 2023, Brazil exported sugar mainly to China (US$1,906 million), India (US$1,225 million), Algeria (US$926 million), Indonesia (US$814 million) and Saudi Arabia (US$812 million), according to data from the Ministry of Development, Industry and Trade.


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