India's Oct-Jan sugar output jumps 25% to 17.7 million tonnes - trade body

Workers load harvested sugarcane onto a trailer in a field in Gove village in the western state of Maharashtra, India, November 10, 2018. REUTERS/Rajendra Jadhav/File Photo

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian sugar mills produced 17.7 million tonnes of sugar in the first four months of the 2020/21 marketing year which started on Oct. 1, up a quarter from a year earlier as production jumped in western state of Maharashtra, a leading trade body said.

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

Maharashtra, the country’s second biggest sugar producing state, churned out 6.38 million tonnes of sugar in the four months, compared to 3.46 million tonnes a year ago, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said in a statement on Tuesday.

India doubled import tax on denatured ethyl alcohol to 5% in the annual budget on Monday. The decision would make imports expensive and boost demand for local alcohol, the trade body said.

The country’s sugar mills produce alcohol from cane juice and molasses, a by-product of sugar-making.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Kirsten Donovan