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How to Start Trading in Sugar: 5 Ways to Trade This Commodity in 2024

Learn How to Start Trading Sugar Futures, Options and More
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Risk Warning: Your Capital is at Risk.

In this guide to trading sugar, we’ll explain how and where you can trade this popular commodity with a list of regulated brokers that are available in your country. We also discuss why some traders choose to trade sugar and what experts say about trading it.

Eagar to get started? If you want to start trading sugar today, here are regulated brokers available in to consider:

Disclaimer: Availability subject to regulations.
Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs.

How Can I Trade in Sugar?

Sugar traders have several ways to trade in the commodity:

  • Futures
  • Options
  • ETFs
  • Shares of sugar companies
  • CFDs (unavailable in USA)

Sugar Futures

The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), which is part of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) offer a contract on sugar that settles into 112,000 pounds of world sugar #11, which is the global benchmark for raw sugar.

The CME contract trades globally on the CME Globex electronic trading platform and has expiration months of March, May, July and October.

Futures are a derivative instrument through which traders make leveraged bets on commodity prices. If prices decline, traders must deposit additional margin in order to maintain their positions. At expiration, the contracts are financially settled on the NYMEX, but physically settled on the ICE.

Trading in futures requires a high level of sophistication since factors such as storage costs and interest rates affect pricing.

Sugar Options on Futures

The ICE offers an options contract on sugar futures.

Options are also a derivative instrument that employ leverage to trade in commodities. As with futures, options have an expiration date. However, options also have a strike price, which is the price above which the option finishes in the money.

Options buyers pay a price known as a premium to purchase contracts. An options bet succeeds only if the price of sugar #11 futures rises above the strike price by an amount greater than the premium paid for the contract.

Therefore, options traders must be right about the size and timing of the move in sugar futures to profit from their trades.

Sugar ETFs

These financial instruments trade as shares on exchanges in the same way that stocks do. There are two ETFs that trade in sugar #11 futures:

  • SGG – iPath Bloomberg Sugar Subindex Total Return ETN
  • CANE – Teucrium Sugar Fund
iPath Dow Jones-UBS Sugar Total Return Sub-Index ETNTeucrium Sugar Fund

Shares of Sugar Companies

There are virtually no pure-play global public companies engaged in the production and sale of sugar. Imperial Sugar was a public company before being acquired and taken private in 2012.

Traders could purchase shares of India’s largest sugar producer Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd on the Bombay Stock Exchange or derivatives through a broker available in your country. On the NYSE traders interested in sugar might want to look into companies like HSY, CSAN and TR.

Contracts for Difference (CFDs)

One way to trade in sugar is through the use of a contract for difference (CFD) derivative instrument. CFDs allow traders to speculate on the price of sugar. The value of a CFD is the difference between the price of the shares at the time of purchase and the current price.

Many regulated brokers worldwide offer CFDs on sugar. Customers deposit funds with the broker, which serve as margin. The advantage of CFDs is that traders can have exposure to sugar prices without having to purchase shares, ETFs, futures or options.

IMPORTANT: CFDs are not available in the USA due to local regulation, and regulated brokers do not accept US citizens or US residents as clients.

Regulated Brokers: Where Can I Trade Sugar?

Start your research with reviews of these regulated brokers available in that offer agricultural-based stocks, ETFs or other trading products:

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CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74%-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Reasons to Trade in Sugar

Traders purchase soft commodities such as sugar for many reasons, but the following are most common:

  1. Speculation
  2. Inflation and weak US dollar hedge
  3. Bet on emerging market demand growth
  4. Portfolio diversification

Important: This is not investment advice. We present a number of common arguments for and against investing in this commodity. Please seek professional advice before making investment decisions.

Speculating on Sugar Prices 

Most sugar production occurs in a few countries, and weather patterns play an important role in determining supply.

Sugar prices can be very volatile. Traders looking to speculate on short-term bottlenecks in supply might see sugar as an attractive trade.

How Does Sugar Act as an Inflation and Weak US Dollar Hedge?

Most commodity products, including sugar, are priced in US dollars and, therefore, are a way to bet on a weak US dollar.

The US economy has relied disproportionately on consumer and government borrowing and spending over the past few decades. To incentivize borrowing, the Fed has kept interest rates low for a long period of time.

Growing debts and deficits in the United States could put pressure on the dollar and boost sugar and other commodity prices.

Betting on Emerging Market Demand Growth

Asian and other emerging economies are growing wealthier. As consumers in these countries accumulate more purchasing power, their appetite for sweet foods may grow as well. Trading in sugar might be a way to capitalize on these global trends.

Diversify Your Portfolio 

Commodities such as sugar have historically had low correlations with stocks, bonds and other financial assets. Trading in sugar provides a way to diversify a portfolio and smooth out trading returns.

Should I Trade in Sugar?

Sugar is a volatile commodity, so trading in it could produce big gains or losses. Here are three long-term trends to consider:

  1. Growing wealth in emerging markets could boost sugar consumption.
  2. Global warming trends could disrupt sugar production and lead to supply shocks.
  3. Demand for oil and gasoline could decline in the coming decades, and demand for ethanol could grow. Overconsumption of fossil fuels combined with heightened environmental concerns could hasten this trend and produce higher sugar prices.

Risks of Trading in Sugar

Trading in sugar, however, has its risks including:

  1. Heightened concerns about a global obesity epidemic could curb demand.
  2. Strength in the US dollar could lead to weakness in commodities across the board.
  3. Increased government subsidies of sugar could produce an oversupply that dwarfs demand.
  4. Sugar substitutes such as aspartame and stevia could drive market demand away from sugar.
  5. Sugar is a volatile commodity that could move lower without any specific catalyst.
Sugar Trading Experts

What Do Experts Think About Sugar?

Experts see sugar and other soft commodities offering attractive trading opportunities in the coming years.

Shawn Hackett, President of Hackett Financial Advisors, believes that demand for sugar is strong and that the futures market suggests a rally might be coming soon.

Mike Ciccarelli, a commodity and stock trader at Briefing.com agrees. He believes that small changes in weather patterns could be the catalyst for a supply disruption and a rise in prices.

There’s minimal downside versus the potential for greater upside.

Mike Ciccarelli, commodity and stock trader

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) notes lower supplies in China and Mexico could offset record production in the near future.

Further Reading

Also see our guides on stock, CFD, and commodity brokers to find out which online trading brokerages are available in .

Plus500 is not available in the US

Legitimate CFD brokers, like Plus500, cannot accept US clients by law

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