NEW DELHI — India limits its sugar exports to 10 million tonnes for the current season to maintain domestic availability and maintain price stability.
The move follows a similar move for wheat and comes amid signs of tight global supplies.
India is the second largest producer, after Brazil, and the largest consumer of sugar in the world, according to the All India Sugar Trade Association. It is the second largest sugar exporter. The export restrictions are the first in six years.
India exported a record 7 million metric tons in the 2021-22 financial year, which ended in March. This was up from 620,000 tonnes in 2017-18.
Estimates vary, but the country is expected to produce over 30 million tonnes this growing season, and domestic consumption is estimated at around 28 million tonnes, with domestic reserves of around 8 million tonnes.
During the current sugar season from June to October, export contracts of about 9 million tons have been signed and 7.8 million tons have already been exported, the government said in a statement.
Sugar mills and exporters will need to get government approval to export from next month, he added.
Sugar consumption tends to increase during the big festival season in India, from September to November.
Sugar prices remained relatively stable, but the retail inflation rate hit an eight-year high of 7.8% in April. The government has announced tax cuts on petrol, diesel and coking coal in an attempt to curb inflationary pressures.
Earlier this month, India also announced that it would only export wheat to food-deficit countries through government channels. It allows private companies to meet their previous commitments to export nearly 4.3 million tonnes of wheat through July. India exported 1 million tonnes of wheat in April.
One of the main purposes of export restrictions is to control rising domestic prices. World wheat prices have increased by more than 40% since the start of the year. Meanwhile, India’s wheat crop was hit by a record heat wave that slowed production.
Before the war, Ukraine and Russia accounted for a third of world wheat and barley exports. Since the February 24 Russian invasion, Ukrainian ports have been blocked and civil infrastructure and grain silos have been destroyed.