“We can export 300,000 tonnes of sugar to China in the next two to three months,” said Praful Vithalani, chairman, All India Sugar Trade Association. “Trade enquiries have started coming, but companies have yet to sign deals. Everyone is cautious to make deals and will wait for the situation to improve,” he said.
India will be competing with Brazil, Cuba and Thailand to meet China’s demand of four million tonne sugar, exporters said.
Vithalani said there might be a short-term delay in business dealings, but in the long term exporters see China as a major market for Indian sugar.
An official of a global trading company based out of Mumbai said considering the prevailing price of sugar in China at $730 a tonne, there was a good opportunity of Indian exporters.
“We are sceptical on whether to export at this stage,” the person said on condition of anonymity. “There is risk of undue scrutiny at destination ports, leading to delays and hold-ups.”
Traders said India has the potential to export 150,000 to 200,000 tonnes to China this season, depending upon the timelines of reallocation of export quotas.
Atul Chaturvedi, a senior professional with the sugar industry, said India has exported sugar to China this season and there was demand coming in. “For now, we have to see how the political situation pans out. Once the issue is resolved, exports will begin,” he said.
Rahil Shaikh, managing director of trading company MEIR Commodities India, said India can export white sugar if there is demand.
For the 2019-20 sugar season beginning October 1, India has exported 4.5 million tonnes and signed contracts with buyers from Iran, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Somalia, and other east African and regional markets.
Out of this, 101,000 tonnes have already been exported to China, Vithalani said.
This year, sugar production in India is likely to be 27.2 million tonnes and the government allowed export of six million tonnes of sugar under the maximum admissible export quota (MAEQ) to liquidate surplus sugar in the country.
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