Sugar export prices expected to be lower in the coming months : ISMA

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Government of India announced the sugar export programme on 16th December, 2020. Mill wise export quota was announced on 31st December, 2020. Considering that the world sugar prices were better in December 2020 as compared to what it was in September 2019, when the Govt. had announced last year’s export programme for 2019-20, the export subsidy for the sugar exports has been restricted by the Govt. at Rs.6000 per ton. This is despite the fact that the actual expenses incurred on internal transport, ocean freight and marketing and promotion charges are much higher.

Sugar production in the second largest sugar exporting nation i.e. Thailand, is almost 80-90 lac ton less than what they usually produce. Therefore, India has an opportunity to export its sugar to the Asian importing countries, especially Indonesia and Malaysia, in addition to its own traditional markets in Middle East, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, East Africa etc. India has a good opportunity to contract and export sugar till about March-April 2021, by when Brazilian sugar comes into the market.

With Brazilian sugar production estimated to be over a record high of 38 million tons from April 2021, the net ex-mill sugar prices for Indian millers will not remain as good in future for their sugar exports.

The world trade happens in relation to the futures prices in the London ICE exchange for white sugar and New York exchange for raw sugar. Currently, sugar contracts are happening in relation to the March futures, but in a couple of months, the same will happen with respect to May futures, which is substantially lower as compared to March futures. The global futures market is inverse and therefore, as the season progresses, the sugar export prices are expected to be lower as compared to what one is getting currently.

Further, the Indian Rupee has appreciated in the last 10 days from over Rs.74 per USD to below Rs.73 per USD, thereby substantially reducing the return in Indian Rupee to the sugar mill.

Nevertheless, around 10 lac tons of sugar export contracts are said to have been entered into by now and sugar has already started moving for exports. Considering that the world wants Indian sugar, and the fact that sugar production is lower in Thailand, EU etc., India should be able to export its targeted volumes with the support of the Rs.6000 per ton of export subsidy during 2020-21.

Indian Sugar Production till Dec 31 2020:
481 sugar mills which were in operation in the country as on 31st December 2020 have produced 110.22 lac tons of sugar, as compared to 77.63 lac tons produced by 437 sugar mills as on 31st December 2019. This is 32.59 lac tons higher as compared to last season’s production for the corresponding period.

In Maharashtra, 179 sugar mills, which are in operation, have produced 39.86 lac tons till 31st December, 2020, as against 135 sugar mills which had produced 16.50lac tons last year upto same period. This is 23.36 lac tons higher than the last year production on the corresponding date.

In Uttar Pradesh, 120 sugar mills have produced 33.66 lac tons till 31st December, 2020. In the last 2019-20 SS, 119 sugar mills were in operation on 31st December, 2019 and they had produced 33.16 lac tons of sugar.

66 sugar mills were in operation in Karnataka on 31st December, 2020, who have produced 24.16 lac tons of sugar, as compared to 16.33 lac tons produced by 63 sugar mills in 2019-20 SS on 31st December, 2019.

In Gujarat, 15 sugar mills are operating for 2020-21 SS and they have produced 3.35 lac tons of sugar till 31st December, 2020. In 2019-20 SS, similar number of sugar mills were in operation on 31st December, 2019, who had produced 2.65 lac tons of sugar till that date.

In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, 12 sugar mills have produced 94000 tons of sugar till 31st December, 2020, as compared to 96000 tons produced by 18 sugar mills in 2019-20 SS, till 31st December, 2019.

In Tamil Nadu, 19 sugar mills are in operation as compared to 16 mills operated on 31st December last year. Sugar mills in Tamil Nadu have produced about 85000 tons of sugar till 31st December 2020 as against 95000 lac tons produced last year on the corresponding date.

Mills of Bihar have produced 1.88 lac tons, Haryana 1.95 lac tons, Punjab 1.20 lac tons, Uttarakhand 1 lac ton and Madhya Pradesh&Chattisgarh1.30 lac tons, till 31st December 2020.

As is the practice, ISMA will procure satellite images in 2nd week of January’ 2021. Based on the images of the cane area remaining to be harvested, trend of recovery, yield and drawal percentage of sugarcane achieved so far, ISMA will come out with its second advance estimates of sugar production for 2020-21 SS, if required, by latter part of January, 2021.

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