India Won’t Ban Sugar Exports to Cool Domestic Prices

by Dave Worldwide

India, the world’s second-biggest sugar producer, won’t limit exports to rein in domestic prices that have risen to more than a two-year high in the past two months amid forecasts of a smaller crop.

“We are not unduly worried and we have enough to keep prices in a certain price band,” Federal Food Secretary T. Nanda Kumar, said in an interview in New Delhi. “At this stage, no,” he said, responding to speculation that the government may ban sales abroad to curb prices.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government has restricted exports of rice, wheat, corn and cooking oil to tame inflation that’s at a 16-year high. Singh faces elections in less than a year and higher food costs can mar poll prospects in a country where more than half the people survive on less than $2 a day.

Wholesale rates at Vashi, a Mumbai suburb and the nation’s biggest sugar market, have reached 19,730 rupees ($453) a metric ton, exceeding prices on London’s Liffe exchange, a benchmark for refined sugar.