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Committee delays halting sugar exports

Committee delays halting sugar exports

ISLAMABAD: An inter-ministerial committee headed by Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir deferred on Thursday an expected decision to discontinue sugar exports to contain rising prices in the domestic market.

The decision was postponed as Mr Dastgir believed the increase in the commodity’s price had not yet crossed the prescribed threshold required to suspend sugar exports.

In a meeting last month, the committee decided to recommend discontinuation of sugar exports if the prices increased by more than 10 per cent in the domestic market.

On Thursday, the committee was informed that the commodity’s retail price had increased from Rs57.2 per kg on Dec 10, 2015 to Rs62.07, a rise of 8.5pc.

However, the committee noted that the hike, though below threshold, was inexplicable as there were sufficient surplus stocks and international sugar prices are declining.

Moreover, sugar prices should go back to the previous levels during the coming days as production was set to rise.

The commerce minister informed the committee that while formulating pro-export policies, the government would safeguard the interests of all stakeholders, especially consumers and farmers.

In December, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet allowed export of 500,000 tonnes of surplus sugar and tasked the inter-ministerial committee, constituted by the prime minister, to review position of sugar stocks and exports.

The meeting was informed that 21,133 tonnes of sugar had been exported since December.

Secretary industries said the country had 2.25 million tonnes of sugar stocks at present, which were set to rise as the crushing season would continue till mid-April. The stocks, he said, were abundant given monthly domestic consumption of 400,000 tonnes.

The minister directed the committee to monitor domestic prices and stocks to avoid any speculation and abnormal changes in the market, particularly in the run-up to Ramazan.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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