For everyone involved in the sugar business, 2018 has, to date, proved anything but sweet.
A glut in the market, combined with political hostility in the west, have sent the sugar price into something like free-fall.
Yesterday, sugar closed down 0.13 cents a pound at 11.84 cents and is trading below 12 cents for the first time since September 2015. It is hard to find a commodities price forecast that can see much relief in the short term.
For investors, this is bad news for a number of companies with exposure to sugar, including Associated British Foods (ABF), Bunge, the trader of agricultural products, and Suedzucker, the German sugar company.
ABF reported earlier this year that, in the 24 weeks to March 3, operating profits at its sugar unit were down 27 per cent on the same period in 2016-2017, at £90 million against £123 million.
The immediate cause for the price slide in the commodity marketis an excess of sugar production. India, the second-largest producer after Brazil, is expected during the current season to harvest 31 million tonnes of sugar, a record, compared with the expected 25 million tonnes.
Output on this scale is something like six million tonnes above domestic demand, and the Indian government is forcefully encouraging the industry to export the surplus. Given prices are lower outside India, ministers are expected to offer export subsidies to farmers.