Sugar sales from India may be delayed

Thursday, 13 January 2011 00:23 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Bloomberg: Sugar sales from India, the second- biggest producer, may start by end of February, about a month later than expected, as sellers with smaller tonnages take time to find buyers, according to industry officials.

The Food Ministry allowed 535 mills to sell 500,000 metric tonnes overseas with quotas ranging from 8.4 tonnes to 4,822.8 tonnes, according to a Government notice dated 1 January. Permits to ship will be issued after 30 January, the last day by which mills can seek permission, Farm Minister Sharad Pawar said yesterday.

Sugar futures in New York reached the highest level in 30 years last month on concern that supplies from Brazil, the top producer, and India, may be too low to meet demand. The South Asian country yesterday exempted sugar imports from a tax until 31 March to rein in food-price inflation.

“There’s a delay of about 20-30 days on exports,” Yatin Wadhwana, Managing Director of Sucden India Pvt., said today in a telephone interview.

India, the largest consumer, may produce 25.5 million tonnes in the year from 1 October, compared with 18.9 million tonnes a year ago, Abinash Verma, Director General of the Indian Sugar Mills Association, said in an interview today. Exportable surplus may be two million to 2.5 million tonnes this season, and opening stocks on 1 October likely totaled 5.8 million tonnes, he said.

“There’s an immediate market in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Dubai and Indonesia,” Verma said. “Most of the physical shipments will start in about 30-40 days as people will take some time to finalise contracts.”

A sugar surplus spurred the Indian Government on 15 December to allow shipments of 500,000 tonnes. The plan hasn’t been scrapped, Pawar said yesterday in response to a Reuters report on 7 January that the export proposal may be reviewed to cool food prices.

“I don’t see any problems with India production as there’s plenty of cane and crushing capacity available,” Wadhwana said.