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India's October-March sugar output up 19%, exports gain momentum

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·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Workers load harvested sugarcane onto a trailer in a field in Gove village
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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian sugar mills' output rose by nearly a fifth year on year to 27.76 million tonnes in the first six months of the 2020/21 marketing year as production jumped in Maharashtra, a trade body said on Thursday.

The country is the world's second-biggest sugar producer and the higher output could weigh on global prices,.

More than half of the sugar mills closed operations by the end of March, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said in a statement.

Maharashtra, India's second-biggest sugar-producing state, churned out 10 million tonnes of sugar in the first six months of the season, compared with 5.9 million tonnes a year ago, ISMA said.

Exports have gained momentum and mills have contracted to export 4.5 million to 4.6 million tonnes of sugar so far in the current marketing year, the trade body said.

"Resumption of sugar imports by Pakistan will open another market for sugar exports from India and will help ensure that the target of 6 million tonnes of sugar exports is met by September 2021," it said.

Pakistan lifted a nearly two-year ban on sugar imports from India on Wednesday and allowed the private sector to import 0.5 million tonnes of white sugar as Islamabad tries to keep soaring domestic prices in check.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by David Goodman)