Indian sugar output could rise to a record, trade group says

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FILE PHOTO: Indian sugar output could rise to a record, trade group says

By Rajendra Jadhav

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India could produce a record 36 million tonnes of sugar in 2021/22, nearly 3% more than estimated, as output increased more than anticipated in the western state of Maharashtra and neighbouring Karnataka, a trade association said on Wednesday.

Record output in the world's biggest sugar producer could weigh on global prices, but would help the south Asian country maintain ample carry forward stocks for domestic use, even if it exports all 10 million tonnes the government has allowed, which would also be a record for exports.

India produced 35.24 million tonnes of sugar in the first eight months of the 2021/22 marketing year, which ends on Sept. 30, and 29 mills are still operational, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said in a statement.

Mills have signed contracts to export about 9.5 million tonnes of sugar in 2021/22. Of that, 8.6 million tonnes had been physically moved by the end of May, the association said.

India last month imposed restrictions on sugar exports for the first time in six years by capping this season's exports at 10 million tonnes to prevent a surge in domestic prices after mills sold a record volume on the world market.

Aditya Jhunjhunwala, president of ISMA, said given the expected bigger harvest, more exports should be allowed this season.

"In view of the above increase in estimated sugar production, government should allow the industry to export another 1 million tonnes," Jhunjhunwala said.

"This will leave sufficient opening balance of sugar stocks for 2.5 months of sugar consumption," he said.

India could start the new season on Oct. 1 with 6.7 million tonnes of carry forward stocks, compared with 8.2 million tonnes a year earlier, the ISMA said.

The association had revised upward production and export estimate in April.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav)

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