NEW YORK, March 31 (Reuters) - Sugar production in China, one of the world's largest consumers of the sweetener, is seen falling to 9 million tonnes in 2022/23 season (Oct-Sept), more than half a million tonnes smaller than in the previous crop and the lowest in seven years.
According to a report released on Friday by broker and supply chain services provider Czarnikow, dry weather in the main sugarcane province of Guangxi was the main reason for the smaller production in the current crop.
Czarnikow analyst Rosa Li said that as a result of the poor crop, the local supply deficit will rise to 6.5 million tonnes, the second-highest ever.
The analyst said China will have to boost imports of raw and liquid sugar to balance local supplies, particularly due to increased consumption after the end of COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions.
Czarnikow estimates China will import 5.4 million tonnes of sugar in 2022/23, and believes sugar smuggling will increase.
Sugar prices on Friday SBc1 hit the highest level in more than six years as other countries as well faced problems with production.
(Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Will Dunham)
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