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Rush in sugar stock prices with consumers sweet on tanghulu craze

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Tanghulu, a famous Chinese snack with candied caramelized fruits on a stick [YONHAP]
Tanghulu, a famous Chinese snack with candied caramelized fruits on a stick [YONHAP]

The craze in Korea for tanghulu, a sugar-encrusted dessert that originated from China, and soaring global sugar prices, are triggering a surge in the stock prices of Korean sugar companies, such as TS Corporation, Samyang Corporation and CJ Cheiljedang, this year.

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TS Corporation closed at 3,455 won ($2.6) on the main Korea Stock Exchange on Monday, increasing by 7.47 percent from the previous trading day. The year-to-date gains for the company alone stand at 39.6 percent.

Similarly, Samyang Corporation, known for producing sugar and wheat starch, saw a 14.7 percent increase in its stock price this year. CJ Cheiljedang, a producer of the Beksul sugar, initially faced a downward trajectory earlier this year but has rallied since August, with a 2.4 percent increase in its stock price during this period.

The surge in sugar-related company stocks can be attributed to the global sugar supply crisis, which has driven the surge of sugar prices. Notably, international sugar prices have hit a 12-year high due to unusual heat waves affecting key sugar cane-producing nations such as Brazil and Thailand.

Sugar futures on the London International Financial Futures Exchange (Liffe) were being traded at $728.60 per ton at 5 p.m. on Monday. London sugar futures breached the 700-dollar per ton mark in April, and closed at a recent peak of $757.4 on Sept. 14, the highest in 12 years.

India, the world’s leading sugar producer, has imposed export restrictions since last year due to disappointing sugar cane yields. A comprehensive export ban is expected to be enforced from October. Likewise, Thailand, a key exporter, is forecast to witness approximately a 20 percent decline in sugar production this year due to adverse drought conditions.

Adding to the complex factors influencing sugar prices is the impact of the tanghulu dessert craze in Korea. Tanghulu, a famous Chinese snack with candied caramelized fruits on a stick, has gained immense popularity, notably among Korea’s young population. Keyword searches on tanghulu on the food delivery app Baemin skyrocketed by 47.3 times from January to July, placing it in the third spot in the search rankings. One tanghulu is known to contain up to 25 grams of sugar, meaning munching on a single tanghulu covers half of the daily sugar allowance of 50 grams.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun1@joongang.co.kr]