The Dow Jones-UBS Sugar Subindex Total ReturnSM is a sub-index of the Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index Total ReturnSM and is intended to reflect the returns that are potentially available through an unleveraged investment in the futures contracts on physical commodities comprising the index as well as the rate of interest that could be earned on cash collateral invested in specified Treasury Bills. The Dow Jones-UBS Sugar Subindex Total ReturnSM is a single-commodity sub-index currently consisting of one futures contract on the commodity of sugar, which is included in the Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Index Total ReturnSM.
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The TBTF banks lie in bed at night dreaming they had the kind of government backstop afforded to the sugar industry. The USDA may buy 400K tons of sugar to prop up sugar processors which borrowed $862M under a government price-support scheme. Roll that one around for a few seconds. The higher prices pay for processors' vacation pads, but hit companies like HSY and NSRGY.PK, along with their customers.
Big winners among commodity ETFs in 2012 include tin (JJT +23.2%), grains (JJG +17.5%), and lead (LD +14.8%). Gold (GLD) gained just 6.6%, while sugar (SGG -14%) and coffee (JO -42.7%) were big losers. See full commodity ETF performance tables here.
Benchmark futures for sugar (SGG) and arabica coffee (JO) plunged to two-and-a-half year lows today, thanks to big crops from Brazil, the world’s biggest producer of both. Sugar mills have been running heavy to make up for time lost to unseasonable early rains, while coffee growers are sitting on a lot of beans hoping for higher prices - a "time bomb for the market” next year.
World food prices rose 1.9% in January to record their largest gain in 11 months, according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization main gauge. Prices of all the commodity groups that make up the FAO's index registered gains, with oils, cereals, and sugar making the largest jump.
Looking at the sharp fall in names like MCD, BWLD, DPZ, and PNRA in a bright green tape, Ivan Hoff suggests a repeat of early 2011's reflation trade - long commodities, short restaurants - might be in order. Higher costs put a double hit on restaurants, cutting margins at the same time squeezed consumers are forced to spend less on meals.
Commodities (GSG) jump up 1.9% following solid economic reports, paced by a 7.3% run in the price of sugar (SGG) over supply worries. No longer a real player in the sugar industry, Cuba marked the end of an era by closing down its Communist-era relic - the Ministry of Sugar - in an effort to improve its absymal harvest yields.
Agribusiness giant Bunge (BG) plans to spend $2.5B over the next 5 years to boost sugar and ethanol production in Brazil. "The world is yearning for food and clean energy," says CEO Alberto Weisser. SGG +86% Y/Y.
Traders fear Brazil's sugar cane crop could fall below estimates, helping send sugar prices +3.4% higher. The output estimate has been slashed by Brazil's sugarcane industry association to 32.4M tonnes from 34.6M tonnes, although some traders see it falling as low as 31M tonnes.
Elevated food prices may be part of the new reality, says the IMF, as it will take years for farmers to meaningfully expand production. Rising demand reflects "structural changes in the global economy that will not be reversed." Putting corn into gas tanks isn't helping matters.
Australia's agriculture bureau sounds a contrary signal, saying food costs could tumble in 2011 as high prices draw out more supply. Adverse weather and government policies are the issue, not the ability to produce more food says the bureau's chief analyst. JJA -0.4%. JJG -0.3%. SGG -2.4%.
Commodity bull Josh Brown thinks the agriculture story is getting somewhat crowded. He notes a recent paean to the group, well done, but the kind of story that gets written close to tops. JJA +1.7%. CORN +2.0%. BAL +6.2%. JO +1.8%. SGG -1.1%. JJG +1.3%.
A letter from the World Sugar Committee criticizing the ICE for failing to rein in "parasitic" computer traders seemingly gives ammo to those blaming record-high commodity prices on speculation. An important note: the WSC blames speculators for volatility, not high prices.
Australia, the world's third-largest sugar exporter, may struggle to meet last year's already-low sugar output after a tropical cyclone battered Queensland. Sugar prices are at a 30-year high and a Rabobank analyst expects global sugar demand will outstrip supply this year. (ETF: SGG)
Goldman Sachs takes issue with Bernanke's insistence that easy money has anything to do with higher commodity prices. "By focusing on core inflation, (they) are exporting looser monetary policy to EM (and) forced to import higher food and energy prices."