By Rajendra Jadhav and Mayank Bhardwaj
MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India has extended curbs on sugar exports by one year until October 2023, the government said, but the world's biggest producer of the sweetener is still expected to fix a quota for this year's overseas sales.
India, also the world's biggest sugar consumer, this year restricted exports through to the end of this month to contain a rise in domestic prices following record exports.
"The notification merely extends the government's policy of keeping sugar exports in the restricted category, but this decision does not mean that the government will not allow sugar exports in 2022/23," Prakash Naiknavare, managing director of the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd, told Reuters, referring to the government's late Friday notice.
The current season's export quota could be issued next week, trade and government sources said.
Reuters last month reported that the government was poised to allow 5 million tonnes of sugar exports in a first tranche for the new marketing year that began on Oct. 1.
India is expected to allow about 3 million tonnes of sugar exports in the second tranche, taking this year's total overseas shipments of sugar to about 8 million tonnes.
According to the Indian Sugar Mills Association, a producers' group, India could export up to 9 million tonnes of sugar in the 2022-23 season.
Cashing in on attractive global prices traders have already started signing deals to export raw sugar for this season.
Traders are increasingly trying to seal export deals to make up for the delay to this year's sugar production that got off to a slow start because of unseasonal rains during the first half of this month.
After diverting about 4.5 million tonnes of sugar for ethanol production, India is expected to produce about 36.5 million tonnes of the sweetener in the 2022-23 season, up 2% from the previous season.
(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav and Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by William Mallard)