Sugar Trading / Sugar Traders

Imperium Commodity Search maintain relationships across the softs and agricultural space and have experience working with direct sugar trading houses, shippers and producers across Europe and Asia.  

Our consultants are well positioned to identify both opportunities and talent in the global sugar trading markets.  We are headhunters as opposed to a recruitment agency and in Sugar this is key to our success in what is a tight market. 

What is Sugar? 

Sugar in a wider sense refers to the sweet carbohydrates found in living tissues and cells.  In commodities however, we tend to think of sugar as the crystalline substance of processed sugar cane and sugar beet, used in the food and drinks industry and traded globally.  Although sugar as a commodity is produced with 2 different crops, processed/refined sugar has little difference based on which crop has been used to produce it. 

Sugar is mostly produced across Asia and South / Latin America.  The world largest sugar producer is Brazil which produces 740m MT of sugar per annum.  Brazil primarily produces sugar cane and is also diversifying its sugar production into ethanol supply as the demand for the renewable fuel has increased substantially in the country over the last 5 years. 

Other notable sugar producers are India, China and Thailand who produce around half a million MT of sugar per year combined. 

How is Sugar traded? 

Sugar is traded on both the global physical supply markets as well as via exchanges/futures for hedging and speculation purposes.  The physical sugar trading market is similar to other soft commodities and is made up of collectives of smaller farmers in cooperatives and large scale sugar merchants.   Sugar is usually traded in containers, specially waterproofed to ensure the product is not spoiled should the cargo get wet.  If sugar is being refined/produced offsite, the unrefined product can sometimes be shipped by bulk/break bulk. 

Physical Traders maintain relationships with sugar producers in a specific region for the purchase of processed sugar (in bags).  They will then manage the logistics process of shipping the product to the destination market, often for further refining or to go straight into food production/manufacturing. 

Futures Traders trade the global sugar markets across the ICE US and NYMEX for both hedging (risk management) and speculation purposes.  Sugar is a fairly volatile futures contract and is attractive to both hedgers and speculators / volatility traders. 

The largest importers and exporters of refined sugar (countries):

Sugar is primarily produced in South America and Asia, where the climate permits sugar cane to be grown on a large scale.  Sugar beet can be grown in more temperate climates and means European countries can also produce large quantities of refined product. The largest exporters of sugar (in USD) are: 

Brazil (6.5bn)
Thailand (2.6bn)
France (1.4bn)
India (920m)
Germany (800m)

The largest importers of refined sugar are: 

Indonesia (1.8bn)USA (1.7bn)China (1bn)Malaysia (700m)Italy (700m)

Who are the clients? 

The majority of sugar goes into the food industry as refined product, and is used in a variety of applications.  Sugar adds more than just flavour to foods and drinks; often used as a preservative and bulking agent as well. 

Outside of the food industry, sugar is a key component in the production of ethanol.  The majority of ethanol is made from grain products such as corn, however in some countries like Brazil that have a large supply of sugar it can be the key ethanol producing product.  Ethanol is an important biofuel used to power a variety of industrial engines. 

What is the Salary for a sugar trader? 

Like other soft commodities, sugar traders often earn a base salary in addition to a discretionary bonus dependant upon their performance/PnL.  For a sugar trader starting out, the average salary is around 30-35,000GBP + bonus.  

Sugar traders who have a book of relationships and existing business can be paid a lot more when moving firms as the hiring company looks to capitalise on their experience/portfolio.  Experienced sugar traders can earn upwards of 80,000-100,000EUR base salary per year. 

Imperium Commodity Search – Headhunters and Recruitment Consultants to the global Sugar Trading industry

Imperium Commodity Search and her consultants have a diverse experience across soft commodity trading, procurement and production mandates, offering a headhunt led service to the global sugar trading and merchandising industry.  We have the resources of a recruitment agency, but utilise the approach of a headhunter, allowing us identify passive but talented candidates in a competitive market, as well as source suitable opportunities for sugar traders globally. 

If you would like to learn more about our current vacancies within sugar trading, please contact our team on +44 (0) 203 927 5090 or register your cv online here and one of our Commodity Consultants will contact you ASAP.

To view our current sugar and ethanol trading, operations and support vacancies click here or contact one of our consultants to discuss current careers / jobs in sugar trading and to discuss your needs in more detail. 

To arrange a consultation with a consultant to discuss your sugar trading hiring needs / growth plans and where we can assist click here or contact one of our consultants directly here for a confidential discussion

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