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Sugar Futures Historical Price Charts From 1961 to 2001

Sugar futures historical price charts show that sugar trading started almost a century ago as part of the NY Coffee Exchange.

Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa were combined in 1979 to form the CSCE, which merged with the NY Cotton Exchange 19 years later to become NY Board of Trade (NYBOT) subsidiaries. CSCE trades options and futures for coffee, sugar, cocoa and the S&P Commodity Index as an independent NYBOT unit. It subsequently merged with the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in 2007.

Sugar #11, as sugar futures contracts are categorized, trade under the ticker, “SB”. Trading is conducted via open outcry, Monday to Friday, from 8:00am to 2:45pm Eastern Time. Months are: March, May, July and October. A single contract represents 112,000 lbs., and each point equates to $11.20.

Importance Of Sugar

As the world’s best known primary energy food source, sugar is a critical component for nutrition, and its cultivation is a major agricultural crop within world commodity markets. All starches and sugars are metabolized in cells as single molecule sugars, and are essential for life.

Sugar Producers, Importers and Exporters

Roughly half of the annual global sugar production output comes from: Brazil (20%), European Union (13.5%), India (12%), and China (6.7%). The United States (4.7%) rounds out the top 5. The top 5 global sugar importers are: Asia (9.3%), Middle East (5.9%), Eastern Europe (4.6%), Africa (4.5%), and North America (2.1%).

Not surprisingly, South America, at 14.2%, is the world’s top exporter. Asia (7.6%), Africa (2.6%), Middle East (2.3%), and Central America (1.8%) are the runner ups.

Uses Of Sugar

Sugar’s foremost use is as a food ingredient, additive or catalyst. In addition to being a universally acknowledged sweetener, sugar is used in fermentation for alcoholic beverages, as a preservative for jellies, as a boiling point and freezing point food variant, as a food crisp texture maintenance agent, and as a flavor and color component.

In a medical context, the use of sugar is critical for re-hydration solutions that routinely save millions of lives each year, particularly in Third World nations where malnourishment is widespread. Sugar fortified with Vitamin A is one of the most cost efficient treatments for micro-nutrient malnutrition, and has played a major role in combating blindness and other infections in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, India, Vietnam, Philippines, and Zambia.

Sugar is also a component in the industrial manufacture of cement, fabrics and surfactants. Brazil, in particular, uses sugar cane as a primary ingredient in its domestic Ethanol production.

Examining Sugar Futures Historical Price Charts

The two main sources of commercially traded sugar are from beets and sugar cane. Intemperate weather and insects are the main threats to supply. When looking at sugar futures historical price charts, the cycle clearly shows May and June as the main months of price volatility, since this period coincides with the sugar cane harvest and sugar beet sowing season.

The size of the sugar cane harvest and conditions for sugar beet planting are crucial supply factors, which will subsequently influence sugar futures prices. The October to December months historically reflect a steady rise in sugar prices, primarily tied to seasonal demand increase and sugar beet harvest. Trading in other months, with some exceptions, is usually relatively flat within a range.

Global Events Effects Shown In Sugar Futures Historical Price Charts

Clearly, sugar supply and demand are affected by global events, like most other agricultural crop commodities. The sugar futures trader will want to keep close watch on harvest forecasts and any news that can indicate a potential change in supply. With global supply and demand climbing above 149 million metric tons per year since 2006, the increased world population will tip the supply/demand ratio, especially if sugar for food is diverted to other uses, such as Ethanol fuel production.

Standard Sugar #11 Contract
Symbol   SB
Per Contract Size   112,000 pounds
Price Quotation   Cents per bushel
Minimum Price Fluctuation   Cents and hundredths of a cent per pound to two decimal places
Termination of Trading   Trading terminates on the last business day of the month preceding the delivery month.


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