India limiting sugar imports


India, the world’s biggest sugar consumer, has no plans to allow extra imports of the sweetener as stocks held in mills will suffice, reports Reuters.

Last month, the government allowed imports of half a million tons of duty-free raw sugar, as a drought cut output below consumption for the first time in seven years. Traders were speculating that the government could soon be forced to allow imports of an extra 500,000 to 1 million tons to meet local demand, estimated at 24-25 million tons a year.

“We expect this year’s production at 20.3 million tons and we had 7.7 million tons of carryover stocks at the start of the season, with consumption estimated at 24-24.5 million tons, we’ll have a surplus of 3.5 million tons when the new season starts on Oct. 1,” said Indian Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.

After consuming 2 million tons of sugar in October, India will be left with about 1.5 million tons in November, when the new season supplies pick up, said Paswan. Local sugar prices are steady around 38,000 rupees ($590.38) a ton despite an uptick in demand during the summer months when sales of ice cream and cold drinks soar, potentially boosting demand for sugar.

Paswan also said his government has no immediate plans to raise the import tax on wheat. India, the world’s second-biggest wheat producer, in March imposed a 10% import tax on the grain to curb imports when Indian farmers were starting to harvest their crops. But most flour millers in the port cities of southern India still find it attractive to import wheat from France, Ukraine and Australia.

“As long as these imports do not depress prices here and our farmers can get their guaranteed prices, we do not see any need to raise the import duty further,” said Paswan. (Source: Reuters)

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