India Needs to Speed Up Sugar Sales as Brazilian Crop on the Way

India has a short window to try and export a record volume of sugar before new supplies from top producer Brazil start to arrive in April.

Mills in the second-biggest producer have so far contracted to export 1 million tons and aim to ship as much as 6 million in 2020-21 with the help of government subsidies of 35 billion rupees ($477 million) reported last month. The aid came more than three months late -- and is almost half of the 62.68 billion rupees last year -- leaving suppliers having to play catch up.

“We will be under pressure when Brazilian sugar comes into the market in April,” said Adhir Jha, managing director and chief executive officer of Indian Sugar Exim Corp. “Exports are on track but we are slightly running behind as we started late. We have to rush and catch up on time.”

Weaker-than-targeted exports by India may further support global sugar prices, which climbed last week to the highest since 2017 amid a drought in Brazil and lower output in Thailand and the European Union. Last year, the South Asian nation sold a record 5.65 million tons on bumper cane output following favorable monsoon rains.

“I am positive that we should be able to achieve our target as we have too much sugar,” said Abinash Verma, director general of Indian Sugar Mills Association. Higher global prices this year will also help, he said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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