Cyclone Yasi swept across Eastern Australia with winds and rain of a force that surpassed even Katrina. Miraculously not a single death occurred and three babies were even born in the shelters during the storm; with full medical care and clean facilities, which just goes to show that Mother Nature is as glorious as she can be brutal.
While the people of Australia fared well their crops did not and the banana and sugar crops of Australia were particularly hard hit. For candy makers and retailers that means that 10% of the world’s sugar supply is gone. Almost one third of Australia’s sugarcane is grown in the region between Cairns and Townsville, where Yasi came ashore.
The cyclone which spanned a diameter of 310 miles blew 186mph an hour winds, dumped torrential rain and ripped sugar crops from the roots destroying 15% of the countries crops and damaging up to 50% of crops. Australia is the world’s third largest raw sugar exporter. Consequently global sugar prices have jetted up by 4%, the highest level in 37 years.
While the ramifications of the drastic price rise won’t be felt immediately in wholesale and retail candy sectors, it is possible that future prices will be impacted. Retailers at store level would be well advised to ensure stock supplies for the upcoming spring and summer are in place ahead of any potential rises. There is also the possibility that sugar supplies could be increased from other sources but it is not likely the Australian sugar market will recover quickly, and without other supplier countries pre-prepared to meet the increased need, it is very likely there will be at least a temporary but significant future increase in the price of all sugar based products.