COVID-19 impacts demand for sugar; though ISMA expects to pick up soon

As on 15th March 2020, 136 mills have stopped crushing and only 321 sugar mills in the country were crushing. As compared to that 173 mills had stopped operations last year as on 15th March 2019 and 354 mills were operating then.

isma Pune: In a release issued today, ISMA said, “As per reports available, sugar mills have dispatched almost 30 lac tons of sugar from their factories for export against MAEQ of 60 lac tons till 15.3.2020. As per market sources, about 36-38 lac tons of sugar have been contracted for exports so far. The current unprecedented situation due to outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted the global sugar prices also. However, the impact could be temporary.Prices also affected” says ISMA

covidSugar mills have been witnessing lower offtake for the last two weeks because of the impact of COVID-19, according to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA).“It is understood that sugar in the pipeline would have got sold in the wholesale and retail markets in the last couple of weeks,” the association said in a press release on Tuesday. It is expected that fresh buying from the sugar mills will take off soon and that should control sugar prices.

Sources in the association said that this was based on the market information and that actual offtake data was not readily available. The annual domestic consumption of sugar this season is expected to be 26.5 million tonnes. Though there is an impact now because of COVID-19, in the long run, consumption is expected to be at the expected level.

Further, the sugar mills have despatched nearly 30 lakh tonnes of sugar from their factories so far this season, which started in October 2019, for export against the MAEQ (Maximum Admissible Export Quantity) of 60 lakh tonnes.

“The current unprecedented situation due to outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted the global sugar prices also. However, the impact could be temporary,” the association said.

ISMA gave production estimates till March 15. During 2019-20 SS, 457 sugar mills started crushing operations as against 527 mills which operated last year. Till March 15 this sugar season, the sugar mills produced 215.82 lakh tonnes of sugar as against 273.65 lakh tonnes in the corresponding season last year.

In the case of exports, India exports mainly to West Asian countries, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and African nations. The export demand is also expected to revive as there is a fall in sugar production in Thailand, the sources added.