India may lift ban on sugar exports: FM

Govt is contemplating to lift ban on sugar exports as production is set to reach a record 227 lakh tonnes.

india Updated: Nov 20, 2006 13:06 IST

India, the world's second largest sugar producer and the biggest consumer, may consider lifting a ban on its exports as the country is likely to witness a record production of the sweetener this year.

"Some time or other, as soon as the estimate of sugarcane production is firmed up and the stocks of sugar come to the market, the government will take a look at the banned export of sugar," Finance Minister P Chidambaram said in an interview in Melbourne.

He, however, said, "I can't give you a date."

India had banned sugar exports in July this year to step up domestic supplies and check rising prices. Early this month, the government had deferred a decision to lift the ban.

"Our sugarcane crop this year is expected to be a bumper crop, so I think pressure on local sugar prices will ease," Chidambaram said.

As per the estimates of Agriculture Ministry, output may reach 227 lakh tonnes in the year ending September 30, 2007, and it was possible to permit exports of 20-25 lakh tonnes of the sweetener.

Resumption of shipments from India might cause world sugar prices to decline further. White sugar prices in London have dropped 29 per cent from a May 12 peak of $497 a ton on increased supply from Brazil, the world's largest producer.

The International Sugar Organization (ISO) this month raised its forecast for next year's global sugar surplus to 5.8 million tons, from 2.2 million tons.

First Published: Nov 20, 2006 13:06 IST