Sugar Mills: Indian mills are waiting to export 1.5 million tons of sugar after selling 8.5 million tons

India has exported some 8.5 million tonnes of sugar since the current season began on Oct. 1, with exporters expected to contract another 1.5 million tonnes for overseas sales over the next five months, trade and government sources said on Thursday.

India, the world’s largest sugar producer and consumer, imposed export restrictions on the sweetener for the first time in six years on May 24, limiting exports to 10 million tonnes.

The government also urged exporters to apply for export licenses or permits for overseas shipments between June 1 and October 31.

“Up until June 1, when the restriction on the registration of shipments came into force with us, the mills exported about 8.5 million tons of sugar,” said a senior government official who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to deal with the to speak media.

Another government official, who also declined to be identified, confirmed the deliveries.

Global prices are attractive and sugar mills are keen to benefit from higher international rates, but they are waiting for the government to issue export permits, traders said.

“Current global prices are attractive for export and there is huge demand for Indian sugar,” said a Mumbai-based trader at a global trading house. “India will easily export 10 million tons.”

“The cane crushing is almost complete and the mills have already sold most of their raw sugar stocks, so they will mainly export white sugar in the coming months,” the trader said.

Sugar cane crushing in India starts in October and tapers off from April.

Traders are currently offering Indian raw sugar between US$465 and US$470 per tonne free on board and white sugar between US$480 and US$485 per tonne.

There is strong demand for Indian sugar, particularly from Iran, Indonesia, Bangladesh and the UAE (the United Arab Emirates), said Rahil Shaikh, managing director of MEIR Commodities India, a trading house.

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