Retail sugar prices cross Rs 40/kg; Centre asks states to curb hoarding

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Updated: April 20, 2016 7:58 PM

With retail sugar prices crossing Rs 40 per kg level, the Centre has directed state governments to impose stock holding limits on sugar traders to check hoarding and control price rise.

Sugar stocksSugar prices in retail markets have been rising since October 2015 due to estimates of lower production at 25.6 million tonnes for 2015-16 marketing year (October-September), as against 28.3 million tonnes in the previous year. (Reuters)

With retail sugar prices crossing Rs 40 per kg level, the Centre has directed state governments to impose stock holding limits on sugar traders to check hoarding and control price rise.

The stock holding limits are imposed under the Essential Commodities Act. It means traders cannot hold stocks beyond the limit specified by the state government.

“Keeping in view the sugar price trend, we have asked the state governments as a precautionary measure to impose stock holding limits on traders to check hoarding,” Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said.

Sugar prices in retail markets have been rising since October 2015 due to estimates of lower production at 25.6 million tonnes for 2015-16 marketing year (October-September), as against 28.3 million tonnes in the previous year.

The prices crossed Rs 40 per kg since beginning of this month as compared to about Rs 30 per kg in October last year. At present, prices are ruling at Rs 44 per kg, according to the government data.

Sugar prices were depressed during 2014-15 marketing year on record production and huge carry over stock that led to sharp rise in cane arrears of about Rs 21,000 crore.

However, the prices have been inching up on expectation of lower output and the government’s order to mandatory export of 3.2 million tonnes in the ongoing 2015-16 marketing year (October-September).

Mills have exported only 1.3 million tonnes of sugar so far in this marketing year and are likely to ship 7,00,000 tonnes more by September.

Sugar production fell by 8 per cent to 24.3 million tonnes till April 15 of this marketing year.

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