Pratik Parija, Bloomberg
New Delhi: Sugar output in India, the world’s second-biggest producer, may reach a record next year, boosting prospects for a bigger global surplus.
Output may climb to 28.79 million metric tons in the year to 30 September 2008, from an estimated 27.43 million tons, the Foreign Agricultural Service at the U.S. embassy in New Delhi said in a report dated 20 April.
Raw sugar prices have declined 45% in the past year as global output heads for a surplus for the first time in four years. Record production in India may reduce the chances of a recovery in prices of the sweetener and further erode earnings at Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd and other sugar mills in the country.
Global output may increase 5.8% in the year ending 30 September, resulting in a projected 8.5 million-ton surplus, said Peter Baron, chief executive officer of the International Sugar Organization, in an interview in Mumbai on 13 April. The surplus is 18% larger than forecast in February, Baron said.
White sugar futures rose 0.4% to $301.5 a metric ton in London yesterday, ending a three-day decline. Prices are down 35% in the past year. Raw sugar prices climbed 1% to 9.25 cents a pound on the New York Board of Trade.
Prices in India have slumped 30% in the past year on expectations of a bumper harvest, raising the pressure on mills to boost exports. Shipments may more than double to 2.5 million tons in the year ending 30 September 2008, from 1.1 million tons this year, the Foreign Agricultural Service said.
Lower prices have reduced profits on exports from India. Bajaj Hindusthan, the nation’s biggest sugar maker, 24 April reported a third straight drop in quarterly net income. Shree Renuka Sugars Ltd, India’s third-biggest mill, said last week second-quarter profit halved from a year earlier.
Shares of Bajaj Hindusthan, Balrampur Chini Mills Ltd, the second-biggest sugar producer, and Shree Renuka are among the 10 worst-performers on the BSE-500 Index in the past year.