Indian exporters have shipped out around 17 lakh tonnes (lt) of sugar in the October-December quarter of the current sugar season 2021-22 as compared to 4.5 lt in the same period last year, an increase of around 277 per cent. According to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), the apex trade body, another 7 lt was in the pipeline for exports during January 2022.

Indian exporters have contracted have already signed about 38-40 lt of sugar for exports, but a decline in global prices have forced them to take the wait-and-watch approach. Global raw sugar prices have slumped to a five month low at around 18 cents per pound amidst news of expectedly better upcoming season 2022-23 (April-March) in Brazil.

“Indian mills are still waiting for the opportune time and are in no hurry to enter into further export contracts beyond 38-40 lt which have already been signed so far,” ISMA said in a note on Monday.

More number of mills in operations

This is even as sugar production in the country till from October 1 to January 15 registered a six per cent increase at 151.41 lt as compared to 142.78 per cent in the same period last sugar season. The increase is mainly on account of more number of mills in operations this year at 504 as compared to 487 in the same period last year.

In Maharashtra, sugar production has increased to 58.84 lt till mid-January this year as against 51.55 lt in the same period last season, an increase of 14 per cent. However, in Uttar Pradesh the production is trailing last year’s levels at 40.17 lt as compared to 42.99 lt in the same period last season.

In Karnataka, the third largest sugar producing State, output has increased to 33.20 lt as of mid-January this season as compared to 29.80 lt in same period last season. ISMA further said that the second advance estimates of sugar production for the 2021-22 season would be released by the end of January.