Note: April and May’s export stats are preliminary at this stage.

  • India’s mills exported 977k tonnes of sugar in April, making it their second strongest month on record.
  • The renewed lockdown restrictions have not impacted exports the same way they did the first time around.
  • However, the container shortage continued to wreak havoc and meant refined sugar exports dropped to an eight-year low.

Second-Highest Indian Sugar Exports on Record

  • India’s mills exported 977k tonnes of sugar in April, bringing the season’s total to 4.2m tonnes.
  • 831k tonnes of this was raw sugar, which left in bulk vessels, as the world struggles on with the container shortage.
  • Once again, India’s been locked down as it battles against another surge in COVID cases.
  • The lockdown was implemented on the 21st April and is due to be lifted on the 15th May.
  • As it stands, these renewed restrictions have not clearly impacted India’s export flows the way they did the first time.

Indonesia Dominates Raw Sugar Flows

  • India’s mills exported 716k tonnes of raw sugar in April, down 104k tonnes month-on-month.
  • With this, they’ve exported 2.7m tonnes so far this season and the strong pace looks set to continue, with 561k tonnes already nominated for shipment in May.
  • The main importers in April were Indonesia (251kmt), the UAE (185kmt), Bangladesh (85kmt) and Iraq (84kmt).
  • Iran, which imported close to 1.1m tonnes of Indian raws last season, is yet to import any Indian raws as the two’s Governments are still deciding whether they’ll continue their bilateral trade deal (Indian Sugar for Iranian Oil).

Refined Sugar Exports at Eight-Year Low

  • India’s coastal refineries exported just 14k tonnes of refined sugar in April.
  • Their exports haven’t been as low as this since September 2013, where they exported 2.9m tonnes.
  • With this, they’ve exported just 300k tonnes of refined sugar so far this year, down 248k tonnes year-on-year.
  • It looks as though 63k tonnes is already nominated for shipment to Sudan in May, but exports should remain slow whilst the container shortage persists.
  • Most Asian destinations prefer not to buy bulk refined, so the container shortage, along with poor cane and beet crops from Thailand and the EU, will continue to tighten refined supply.

Limited Options for White Sugar Exports

  • India’s mills exported 261k tonnes of white sugar in April, down 329k tonnes month-on-month.
  • With this, they have exported 2.1m tonnes so far this season, up 200k tonnes year-on-year.
  • The main importers have been Afghanistan (79kmt), Djibouti (30kmt) and Somalia (23kmt).
  • This is because only a handful of white sugar destinations can take bulk vessels, and most of these are concentrated in East Africa.

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