Date:              March 2019


Beet Molasses

With the beet molasses market still feeling the effects of last year’s drought and resulting over-selling of crops, prices are continuing to firm across Europe with some origins trading a $15-$20 premium to previous crop.

Strong demand from the fermentation industry means prices could continue to firm as we move forward.

Cane Demand

Cane demand is up between 20-30% across the continent, depending on region. With the fermentation industry currently using 1:3 cane:beet ratio, this has caused a large increase in cane demand relative to last year’s 100% beet usage.
In addition to this, feed users across the continent have mostly now switched over to cane where logistics will allow.

CMS/Blending liquids

High demand for pot ale syrup and other low value liquids from the AD industry has led to an increase in demand from CMS and an upward movement on price of £12-£15 /MT heading into Q1 2019.



Pakistan was expecting a successful harvest season with a potential for record levels. This has not quite come to fruition, and there is a slightly smaller crop than expected. The rise in oil price has made Pakistani ethanol more attractive and they will look to use molasses as a stock for the coming season’s production. High ethanol demand from the Philippines and Japan mean molasses exports will be non-existent for this harvest season. 

India has also seen a sharp increase in ethanol demand from the Philippines and Japan. This, along with the increased cane demand from Europe will mean that India’s last cargos of 2019 will most likely be shipped in March. In previous years, cargos have been shipped out of India as late as May/June.


Thailand’s sugar cane crop could see 125 Million MT crushed. However, as has been the case with Thailand for the past 4/5 years, most of the product will be used as stock in the state ethanol programs. It is thought that Thailand could even become an importer as we head into Q3 & Q4.


Indonesia will have a strong crop this year, which is good news for Europe as this eases the stress on India and Central America to supply the rest of Asia’s ethanol programs, hopefully freeing up supply for the EU & UK.  

Asia/Oceana Supply/Demand

A recent increase in the ethanol demand from Japan and the Philippines has meant there will again be a supply deficit in Asia. This has already had an upward effect on prices and this could continue throughout the year.


USA – USA have also had a very poor beet crop this year, meaning Floridian cane will mostly be used within the USA.

Old crop prices in Central America are moving upwards in line with a strong demand from the US. Early prices for next crop look to be at a similar level as strong internal ethanol demand and strong export demand from US keep prices high. There is a strong possibility that Central America will be the only origin available for Europe over the summer period and will be competing with the USA for the tonnage.


Very strong demand from the Philippines and Japan for ethanol has pushed up the price of molasses in high sugar origins. Ethanol buyers are willing to pay a premium for high sugar molasses which makes CA, Pak, Ind origins very popular.


Bunkers: Slight price increase
Freight – Higher

General Outlook

World FOB prices have risen sharply over the past few weeks and could well rise again as we head into the summer months. A lot of crops during 2018 ended up being overestimated and some cases oversold due to the unforeseen circumstances of the drought. This is certainly having a knock on effect as we enter Q2 2019.

Daniel Hughes