NANJING Apr 1 (CEIS): China's sugar making industry is expected to reap more profits in 2006, following a hefty profit increase to 9.2 billion yuan in 2005, said Ma Zhanping, deputy director of the Economic and Trade Department of the National Development and Reform Commission at the first China Forum on Sugar Enterprises Development held recently in this leading sugar production base of the country.
China's edible sugar industry has seen a gradual improvement of profitability over the past five years since a turnaround was made in 2000 from a loss of 12.4 billion yuan in 1996.
The country's sugar output stood at 8.5 million tonnes in 2001 and increased to 10.6 million tonnes in 2002 and 10 million tonnes in 2003. But it declined in 2004 and 2005.
Meanwhile, sugar production in China has been increasingly concentrated in recent years. There are now 216 sugar enterprises across the country, with an average annual output of 46,000 tonnes, compared with 500 enterprises with average annual output of 16,000 tonnes in the past. Among them, 17 each have an annual output of over 150,000 tonnes, and they jointly contribute to over half of the nation's total.
Sugar price in China has been comparatively lower than that in international markets. It averaged 3,066 yuan per tonne during the 2001-2005 period, and the low price stimulated domestic sugar consumption.
From 2000 to 2004, Ma said, China's candy production expanded by 70% and that of cakes more than doubled.
Ma noted that lower sugar price in the domestic market than in international markets will continue to underpin better profitability of the domestic sugar industry.