According to a leading trade body, Indian mills produced 31.1 million tonnes of sugar since the current season began on Oct. 1, a 5.4% decrease year on year, as many mills closed early due to the limited availability of sugar cane.
Lower sugar output from India, the world’s largest producer, will leave little room for additional exports during the current 2022/23 season. Also Read | Sugarcane cutter women demand separate identity cards for govt scheme
The Indian Sugar Mills Association said in a statement that out of 532 mills that began operations this season, 400 mills closed, including all mills in the top-producing western state of Maharashtra.
According to the association, Maharashtra’s production fell to 10.5 million tonnes from 13.7 million tonnes the previous year. Reuters was the first to report on the likely drop in output in December.
‘The drop in Maharashtra production dragged down the country’s total output.’ ‘There is no room for additional exports,’ a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trade house said.
In the 2022/23 season, the government allowed mills to export only 6.1 million tonnes of sugar, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration was expected to allow a second tranche of shipments. India’s absence from the market could raise global sugar prices, which are nearing a decade high, and allow rivals Brazil and Thailand to increase shipments.
In the previous 2021/22 season, India exported a record 11.2 million tonnes of sugar
Sugar is primarily exported from India to Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sudan, Somalia, and the United Arab Emirates.
The ISMA reduced the country’s output estimates for 2022/23 by 7%, to 34 million tonnes, from 36.5 million tonnes previously. Indian mills produced a record 35.8 million tonnes of sugar last year.
However, according to the dealer, production could fall to around 33 million tonnes, supporting local prices, which are rising due to peak summer season demand.