India’s rice export ban sparks concern that sugar may be next

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NEW DELHI: After India banned some rice exports to regulate home costs, merchants are apprehensive one other meals staple could possibly be susceptible: Sugar.

The world has turn into more and more depending on sugar exports from the South Asian nation as world provides tighten. Uneven rainfall throughout India’s agricultural belts has stoked concern that sugar manufacturing will fall quick, probably dropping for a second straight 12 months within the season beginning October.
This may occasionally restrict the nation’s potential to export. The federal government has already restricted abroad sale of wheat and a few rice varieties to guard home provides and funky costs, including to stresses on world meals markets which have already been roiled by unhealthy climate and the worsening battle in Ukraine.

The rice export ban is a transparent sign the federal government is worried about meals safety and inflation, mentioned Henrique Akamine, head of sugar and ethanol at Tropical Analysis Providers. “The fear now could be that the federal government will most likely comply with swimsuit and do one thing comparable relating to sugar,” he added.
Sugar cane fields in the principle producing areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka didn’t get sufficient rain in June, resulting in crop stress, in response to Aditya Jhunjhunwala, president of the Indian Sugar Mills Affiliation. The group expects sugar output to drop 3.4% from a 12 months in the past to 31.7 million tons in 2023-24. Nonetheless, Jhunjhunwala mentioned provides can meet home demand.
In the meantime, India is ready to make use of extra sugar for biofuel. The affiliation sees mills diverting 4.5 million tons to make ethanol, up 9.8% from a 12 months earlier.
“At this manufacturing stage, India won’t launch any export,” mentioned Bruno Lima, head of sugar and ethanol at StoneX. “We’ll need to comply with intently if the ethanol diversion will probably be completed in full.”
Meals secretary Sanjeev Chopra on Friday criticized ISMA’s evaluation of decrease sugar manufacturing, saying it’s extremely untimely and has created panic of a scarcity within the nation, the Press Belief of India reported.
India has restricted sugar exports earlier than. For the 2022-23 season, shipments are capped at 6.1 million tons, down from 11 million tons the 12 months earlier than. Subsequent season, analysts together with Akamine and Lima anticipate solely 2 million to three million tons will probably be allowed — or none in any respect — risking an extra surge in world costs.
Sugar futures are up about 20% this 12 months, at the same time as they’ve retreated from April’s peak of 26.83 cents a pound, the very best stage since 2011. The market is apprehensive El Niño will deliver hotter and drier circumstances to South and Southeast Asia, hurting manufacturing. Thailand may additionally see a decline in output.
That, mixed with decrease manufacturing in different areas like Southern Africa and Central America, might gasoline one other rally. Akamine sees costs buying and selling between 25 cents and 27.5 cents a pound within the subsequent season. They had been at 23.69 cents on Friday. Brazil’s bumper crop is maintaining a lid on positive factors.
The Indian authorities is unlikely to make any choice on the 2023-24 sugar export quotas but. Harvest will solely begin from October and ISMA mentioned a latest enchancment in rain will profit the crop.
“Officers will wait till they’ve full visibility of manufacturing,” mentioned Carlos Mera, a senior commodity analyst at Rabobank.

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