India is the largest sugar producer and the second largest sugar exporter in the world behind Brazil and as India was likely to sign several agreements for sugar exports by December’22 due to its production of the designated 60 Lakh tonnes of sugar and as the deliveries are required to be completed by the end of March’23, the country has witnessed a high demand for its sugar in the global markets.
Stocks of sugar companies have rallied up to 20% in the hope that the Government would enhance the export quota after the numbers projected in the domestic production assessment in the month of January’23 and witnessing an advancement in the availability of ethanol-blended fuel (petrol) at retail outlets.
Ethanol For Fuel
The Indian Government aims to launch fuel with 20% ethanol blended in it which would be available at select outlets in the coming month.
Hardeep Singh Puri, Petroleum Minister, said at the curtain raiser of the India Energy Week 2023 event on 16thDecember’22, “We have achieved 10% blending of petrol in June, which was well ahead of the November deadline. We have also accelerated efforts to reach the ambitious goal of 20-per cent ethanol blending by 2025-26. In fact, it will be available at selected outlets from next month,”
K Dileep, Head PMS, Geojit Financial Services said that the reaction of the sugar stocks was to the Government’s plans to advance 20% blending ethanol with petrol from December 2022 to January 2023 against an earlier plan to start from April 2023.
India’s Sugar Exports
In 2021-22, India exported a record 111 lakh tonnes of sugar in the 2021-22 marketing year and earned a value of about Rs.40,000 Cr. in foreign exchange making India the world’s second-largest Sugar Exporter.
In November’22, GOI allowed the export of 60 lakh tonnes of sugar for the 2022-23 marketing year (October-September). Sugar production has increased 5% to 82 lakh tonnes between October and December 15, while mills have contracted to export 45-50 lakh tonnes of sweetener.
India’s Sugar Production
India annually produces about 320-360 lakh tonnes of sugar as against its domestic consumption of 260 lakh tonnes which results in a huge carry-over stock of sugar with the mills. The huge inventory leads to a blockage of funds and delays in payments to cane farmers. As per the Indian Sugar Mills Association’s (ISMA) estimates, the total production is expected to be the highest ever at 410 lakh tonne (before diversion for ethanol) in the 2022-23 marketing year.
Manish Chowdhury, the head of research at Stoxbox, said that the sugar stocks have rallied amid hopes that the government would allow additional sugar exports which would help absorb the expected additional supply. He also added, “We believe that there is a structural shift in the sugar sector towards ethanol and any additional supply would be diverted towards it,”.
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