Brazils sugar production and exports in 1998/99 are forecast at record levels, respectively at 16.3 and 7.1 million metric tons. Brazil is the worlds largest sugar producer and exporter, accounting for about 13 percent of world production and 19 percent of exports. Production has increased by 66 percent since 1992/93 and exports have nearly tripled. Production is expected to be up 5 percent and exports up 6 percent in 1998/99. Large alcohol stocks, an expected increase in domestic sugar consumption due to demographic and economic growth, and expanding sugar exports are boosting sugar production. Alcohol prices in the Brazilian domestic market fell steadily in the second half of 1997, spurred by the deregulation of anhydrous alcohol prices in May 1997. The sugar-alcohol industry is also facing a critical problem related to its capacity to store excessive alcohol production from the 1997/98 season. Sugar consumption is increasing in Brazil due to population growth as well as to greater consumption of sugar-containing products such as soft drinks, ice cream and candy, which have been stimulated by the economic stabilization plan ("Plano Real") implemented in July 1994. Brazils expanding sugar exports go to more than 35 countries. Brazils largest sugar markets include Russia, Egypt, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Yemen, the United States, and Iran. However, there is concern that the financial crisis in eastern Asian markets will reduce some of the Brazilian sugar export potential.