A sluggish start to Brazilian cane harvest due to poor weather is proving to be a boon for Indian exporters. Besides, the weak rupee has made Indian exports attractive despite volatile global prices. However, shipments have slowed down somewhat due to the onset of monsoon.

“Demand is not coming in easily, but we are doing reasonably well,” said Mr Abinash Verma , Director-General, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA). “The delay in harvest in Brazil is giving us some space in the international market”.

The weak rupee is also helping exporters sustain exports. Exporters are still able to make about Rs 1,000 a tonne, he said. White sugar futures for August delivery in London settled at $587.50 on Monday, a gain of $1.70 over the previous close.

ISMA estimates that a total of 21.72 lakh tonnes was exported till June 15 in the current crop year that ends in September. In addition, another 2 lakh tonnes of sugar is waiting to be shipped from various ports. In the corresponding period last year, a total of 22.35 lakh tonnes was exported.

“We are doing about 3-3.5 lakh tonnes a month and expect to close the year with total exports of about 35 lakh tonnes. This includes five lakh tonnes from last year’s output,” Mr Verma said.

The Government had opened up sugar exports last month and registrations with the Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) have crossed five lakh tonnes. “Shipments have already crossed three lakh tonnes,” he said.

ISMA has projected an output of 26 million tonnes for the current crop year. Till end-May, sugar output grew 8 per cent and stood at 25.5 million tonnes as production in many States, including Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, has come to an end. Domestic consumption for the current year is pegged at 22 million tonnes.

vishwa@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on June 26, 2012)
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