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Indian sugar exports set to face competition this season

In a webinar organised by Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) recently, experts have opined that Indian exporters may face stiff competition from Thailand expected to rebound in the global market, besides Australia. According to the Ravi Krishnamurthy, Head, Indian sugar- COFCO International, Thai sugar could give competition to Indian, especially due to the high freight differential ($15-$20) for destinations such as Indonesia. India needs to price its sugar to match Thai offers. After having shipped out a record 7.3 million tonnes (mt) last season that ended the previous month, India is likely to export about six mt of sugar during the current new season (October 2020-September 2021). Experts further said that production in Thailand projected to rebound by 33 percent to 10 million tonnes this season. In the webinar, Martin Todd, Managing Director of global agribusiness market and intelligence firm LMC International further added that the world sugar market currently needs India’s surplus and is willing to pay India’s MSP (maximum sale price of Rs 31,000 a tonne) to buy its sugar. But, the current futures price trend indicates the market will not pay the MSP. Peter de Klerk, Chief Economist, International Sugar Organization (ISO), presenting ISO’s perspective, said that sugar production will be in deficit for the second consecutive year this season, while consumption is set to recover. This will be key to Indian sugar exports this season.