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U.S. sugar demand seen lower at 12.2 mln tons in 2018-19 -trader

NEW YORK, Dec 6 (Reuters) - United States domestic sugar demand will be smaller than the USDA forecast for 2018-19, a closely-watched North American trader said on Thursday.

Domestic demand will stand at 12.2 million tons, JSG Commodities president and veteran trader Frank Jenkins forecast, below USDA expectations of 12.4 million tons.

Total United States sugar output in 2018-19 will be 9.074 million tons, while imports will stand at 2.812 million tons, Jenkins said at an industry conference on Thursday.

Jenkins' production forecast is slightly above last month's U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecast of 9.02 million tons (8.18 million tonnes) for the crop year that began Oct. 1.

Jenkins expects beet to represent a declining share of total sugar output in 2018-19 and in 2019-20, in line with USDA expectations published last month.

Beet output is forecast to decline to 4.974 million tons, from 5.279 million tons the previous year.

The stocks to use ratio will stand at 13.5, Jenkins said, above USDA expectations of 11.3

(Reporting by Ayenat Mersie; editing by Diane Craft)

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