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India’s sugar exports to drop more than 24% in 2020-21 – trade body

India’s sugar exports are likely to drop more than 24% in the current year to September due to logistical constraints such as a shortage of containers and congestion at the country’s ports, a leading trade body said.

India, the world’s second biggest sugar producer after Brazil, is likely to sell 4.3 million tonnes of the sweetener on the world market in the 2020-21 season against 5.7 million tonnes shipped in the previous year, said R.P. Bhagria, chief executive of the All India Sugar Trade Association (AISTA).

Also, sugar shipments to Iran, a key buyer of India’s sweetener, look likely to drop this year, Bhagria said.

In the 2019/20 season, Iran imported a record 1.14 million tonnes of sugar from India, accounting for some 20% of the country’s sugar exports, according to Indian customs data.

Late last year, Reuters reported that India’s sugar exports to Iran are expected to be significantly lower in the 2020-21 season due to a shortage of Indian rupees.

Under U.S. sanctions, Tehran is unable to use U.S. dollars to transact oil sales.

Iran previously had a deal to sell its oil to India in exchange for rupees, which it used to import critical goods, including sugar, but New Delhi stopped buying Tehran’s oil in May 2019 after its U.S. sanctions waiver expired.

Tehran continued using rupees to import critical goods from India, and after 19 months of no oil sales, the Islamic Republic’s rupee reserves are depleted.

Mills in India, the world’s biggest consumer of the sugar, are expected to churn out 29.9 million tonnes of the sweetener in the 2020-21 season, up from 27.40 million tonnes produced in the previous season.

Output in top sugar producing states Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra is expected at 10.5 and 10.2 million tonnes respectively, Bhagria said.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; editing by David Evans)

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