Sao Paulo: A fire destroyed up to 300,000 tons of sugar at several warehouses in the southern Brazilian port of Santos today before it was contained, authorities said.
Four people were injured in the blaze, which erupted in warehouses owned by Copersucar, the world`s largest sugar trader, the Port of Santos said in a statement.
"It has been brought under control," a spokesman said. Santos port officials said the fire broke out in the conveyor belt system that links Copersucar`s six warehouses, which have a capacity to hold up to 100,000 tons of sugar each.
All six warehouses were damaged by the blaze and all Copersucar operations were at a standstill, port officials said, adding that it was too early to assess the extent of the damage.
After the fire was reported, sugar prices in the $17.5 billion futures market spiked 6 percent and traded near one-year highs.
Sugar futures later pared gains and were recently up 2.5 percent at 19.47 cents a pound on ICE Futures US.
"The loss of the warehouse space in ports will make shipping much more difficult. So we saw a short-term spike in prices, but as the logistical issues get worked out, we will see this go away," US-based Price Futures Group senior analyst Jack Scoville.
"It will hurt world availability for the short term, though, and probably help India and Thailand sell sugar at slightly better prices than they might have been able to do otherwise."