Bangkok (VNA) - Thailand, the world's second biggest sugar exporter after Brazil, has decided to cut its exports of raw sugar by at least 500,000 tonnes this year, as a swelling global surplus has led to sharp falling prices.

Thailand’s sugar output is forecast to hit a record level of 14.3 million tonnes this year. Of the figure, 2.6 million tonnes will be earmarked for domestic consumption and the remainder, more than 11 million tons, is to be exported.

Worawan Chitaroon, Secretary-General of the Office of Cane and Sugar Board (OCSB) said this is the first sugar export reduction plan his board has approved, because this is not a good year for sugar exports.

The OCSB could allocate another substantial amount of raw sugar for local ethanol producers if necessary, he added.

According to him, allocating Thailand's 500,000 tonnes of sugar for local ethanol producers could also help cut production costs. Many of the country's ethanol producers are facing rising costs as cassava, one raw material used for sugar, is rising in price due to higher demand from the feedstuff sector.

That has encouraged ethanol producers to switch from cassava to raw sugar, he noted.

Thailand's sugar industry operates under a specific law, which authorises the OCSB to govern production, domestic sales and export.-VNA