Written by Partha Sarathi Biswas | Pune | Published: June 21, 2020 4:53:43 am
Sugar exports have picked up momentum. (File)
Ex-mill prices of sugar in Maharashtra have seen a steady gain over the last few weeks as market speculations about an imminent rise in minimum selling price (MSP) of sugar has seen increased buying both by traders and industrial users. Sugar exports have picked up momentum with the industry now cautiously optimistic of the country meeting its 60 lakh tonnes (lt) of export quota in the next three months.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown had brought both domestic and international sales of sugar to a grinding halt. Labour problem at ports also disrupted the international shipments. The lockdown had come at a time when India was being looked as the only destination of sugar for international buyers.
Meanwhile, industry bodies have asked for a rise in sugar prices from the present Rs 3,100 per quintal to at least Rs 3,400 per quintal. They said it was necessary to pay the minimum Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of Rs 2,750 per tonne in the next season. The demand had gained momentum after the Commission of Agricultural Cost and Pricing had recommended a Rs 100 per tonne rise in FRP.
Over the last few weeks, ex-mill price of sugar in Maharashtra has risen from Rs 3,100 per quintal to Rs 3150-3,175 per quintal. Mumbai-based sugar trader Praful Vithlani said it was mostly due to the speculations about an imminent rise in MSP to Rs 3,200 per quintal. “Amid present speculators, industrial users of sugar are stocking up before the revised MSP sets in. This has resulted in the present price rise,” he said.
Vithlani added that exports have started picking momentum as Asian countries continue to prefer buying sugar from India than Brazil. “Indian raw has 99 per cent sucrose as compared to 97 per cent from Brazil, resulting in higher recovery. Also as compared to Brazil, the handling and shipment costs for Asian countries works out in favour of Indian sugar,” he said. Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia and Indonesia are major markets for Indian sugar.
Vithlani estimated that contracts worth 51 lt of sugar have been signed by the millers, of which 46 lt have already been shipped out. “We feel that India can meet the 60 lt of export quota given to them,” he said.
Bhairavnath B Thombare, president of West Indian Sugar Mills Association (WISMA) – the umbrella body of private millers in the state, also expressed confidence that they will be able to meet the export targets this year.
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