Extension of limitations on sugar exports

According to a notification released by the directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT), the government on Wednesday extended the ban on sugar exports past October 31.As to the notification, “Export restrictions on sugar, including raw, white, refined, and organic sugar, are extended beyond October 31, 2023, until further order.”

The government said last year that exports of sugar will be restricted starting on June 1, 2022, and that the limits would be in place until October 31, 2023. India exported a record 11 million metric tonnes (MT) of sugar the year before, without any quota restrictions, and 6 million MT during the preceding season (October-September 2022-23).The projection of the low level of surplus for exports in the just begun season (2023–24) is mostly due to the quick increase in ethanol blends into petrol, which is expected to reach 12% by December. It is anticipated that 27 MT of the 31 MT of sugar that will be produced this year would be needed for household use as sweetener.

The administration is concerned to prevent a spike in domestic sugar prices prior to the busiest holiday season. Industry insiders warned that this year’s shipments would perhaps come to a complete stop, a situation not seen in many years. Trade estimates indicate that the sugar production in the 2023–24 season is anticipated to drop to about 31 MT from 33 MT in the 2022–23 season, primarily due to the downturn in the major producing states of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

According to a food ministry official, “there would be sufficient supply of sugar for both domestic consumption and for ethanol.” As to the Indian Sugar Mills Association, approximately 11.4% ethanol to petrol blending has been accomplished thus far.

The goal set by the government is to blend 20% ethanol with petrol by 2025–2026. 5.9 million hectares (MH) of sugarcane were planted for the kharif season as of September 30, which is 7.6% more than the previous year. Next week, the agriculture ministry is anticipated to unveil the first preliminary estimate of sugarcane production for the 2023–24 crop year, which runs from July to June.

Major contributors to the overall sugar exports are Bangladesh, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, and Djibouti. According to a report released in July by the consulting firm Crisil, stable operating profitability for integrated sugar mills—those that have facilities for producing sugar, distilling alcohol, and generating power—will result from rising domestic sugar prices and rising ethanol sales, which will help offset rising sugarcane costs and decreased exports in fiscal 2024.

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