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Thailand draws biochemical investment to absorb sugar glut

European and Japanese groups set up plants to turn sweetener into plastics

Sugar cane is harvested in Thailand's Ratchaburi Province. New investment is expected to boost domestic demand for sugar as a raw material for biochemicals.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Thailand is attracting international investment in biochemical plants that make use of the nation's abundant sugar supply as the government provides incentives to reduce farmers' dependence on exporting the overproduced commodity.

Thailand, the world's second-largest exporter of sugar, faces a global supply glut that has depressed international prices of the commodity. The government seeks to halve exports within the next five years by using them as chemical feedstock, part of a goal of shifting the country to higher-value industrial activity.

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