The government’s clearing of sugar stocks for exports, coupled with rising global prices, have brightened up things for the domestic industry, which hopes to export over 17 lakh tonnes of the sweetener.
Sugar prices, which had dipped to $326 (Rs14,344) a tonne, has moved up to $341 (Rs15,004) a tonne due to decline in sugar supply from the European market.
Better international prices and the urgency of the industry to offload sugar inventories to brace for the high quantum of new arrivals have also helped expedite the matter.
The government has cleared release orders of 2.15 lakh tonnes of sugar under Open General Licence and the Advance Licence Scheme, which stipulates exports of refined sugar against raw sugar imports undertaken to keep sugar mills operational during the lean season.
“We have issued release orders for 2.15 lakh tonnes, of which 1.65 lakh tonnes is under ALS, 50,000 tonnes under OGL,” a food ministry official said. He said applications of about 30,000-40,000 tonnes of sugar exports are still to be cleared.
Initially, the government partially lifted the ban on sugar exports on 18 December 2006, when it allowed the mills to fulfil their re-export obligations. The sugar mills had re-export obligations of about one million tonnes left when the ban was imposed. Later in January, it announced across-the-board lifting of the sugar ban, subject to clearance from the government.