KOLKATA, India, Sept. 19 (Xinhua)-- India's sugar exports have recorded a four-year high with 3.15 million tonnes until end of August in the marketing year through September, after the central government freed the shipment following good production to enable mills to benefit from higher global prices, industry sources said Wednesday.
An industry official said other than this as much as 200,000 tonnes of sugar were lying in ports for exports.
He added that India, the world's largest sugar consumer and second-biggest producer, has never exported so much of the commodity in one year except for 2007-08 when 4.95 million tonnes were shipped due to a subsidy on exports to ease stocks.The government had permitted 1.5 million tonnes under the open general licences last year in three equal tranches, starting in April 2011, after a gap of two years when the country faced a shortage.
India had imported about 2 million tonnes in 2009 being forced by a drought, which sent New York raw sugar futures soaring to their highest levels in nearly 30 years.
This year, the government had initially allowed shipments of 2 million tonnes of sugar before freeing the shipment in May due to adequate stocks to help mills clear payments to farmers for previous cane purchases.
India's sugar output is estimated to have climbed 7 percent to 26 million tonnes due to higher cane crushing, compared with the consumption of around 21.5 million tonnes.
A central government official said"However, sugar exports have slowed down in the past one month as domestic prices have shot up due to monsoon fears, while global prices fell, making the shipment unattractive."
In spite of the exports, India will likely end the current year with around 1 million to 1.5 million tonnes of excess stocks from a year earlier, according to an industry estimate.
The Indian Sugar Mills Association date revealed stocks by the end of 2010-11 were to the tune of 5.5 million tonnes. Industry watchers expect sugar production to touch 25 million tonnes in 2012-13, compared with the domestic consumption of around 22 million tonnes.