Sugar Stocks Sour: Bitter Investment Outlook in Short Term

Sugar Stocks Sour: Bitter Investment Outlook in Short Term
Sugar Stocks Sour: Bitter Investment Outlook in Short Term

by Tanushree Jaiswal Last Updated: Feb 27, 2024 - 03:20 pm 226 Views
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Since analysis of sugar in July 2022, sugar stocks have witnessed mixed performance, with Triveni Engineering & Industries emerging as best performer, gaining up to 47 percent. However, this performance pales in comparison to broader market, represented by Nifty 50, which has surged over 40 percent during same period. This relative underperformance can be attributed to combination of factors, including global sugar scenario & adverse policy moves.

Falling Production & Regulatory Hurdles
India, surpassing Brazil to become world's largest sugar producer, saw record production in 2021-22 sugar year, reaching 39.4 million tonnes. However, subsequent sugar year (2022-23) witnessed marginal decline in production to 36.62 million tonnes due to inadequate monsoon rainfall. Additionally, government interventions, such as restricting total exports to ensure domestic availability, & ban on sugar diversion for ethanol production in Maharashtra, have further impacted industry.

Ethanol Diversions & Policy Uncertainties
Ban on sugar diversion for ethanol production, coupled with cap on overall sugar diversion for ethanol, has significantly affected sugar & ethanol producers' revenue & profitability. This move, aimed at maintaining price equilibrium for sugar, reflects government's concerns over potential disruptions in food & beverage sector. While industry participants anticipate review of these measures, uncertainty surrounding future policy directives adds to sector's woes.

Impact on Producers & Market Outlook
Reduction in sugar availability for ethanol, along with regulatory challenges & pricing pressures on alternate feedstock’s, is expected to negatively impact distillery segment margins & overall profitability for sugar manufacturers. Despite initiatives like Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme & interest subvention schemes, long-term viability remains uncertain. Investments in new distillery capacity have been significant, but any abrupt policy changes could undermine industry growth prospects.

Short-Term Investment Risks & Recommendations
Given prevailing challenges & uncertainties surrounding sugar stocks, short-term investment outlook appears bleak. Marginal declines in raw material margins, regulatory hurdles, & industry's vulnerability to policy shifts make sugar stocks unattractive for investors seeking short-term gains. Moreover, with Brazil ramping up production & global prices moderating, timing of exports becomes crucial for Indian companies to capitalize on favorable market conditions.

Overview of Top Sugar Stocks

Sr. No. Stock Name PE Ratio(x) Sectoral MCap Rank 1 Year Return 3 Years Return 5 Years Return
1 Ugar Sugar Works 13.38 13 -9.63% 394.58% 438.36%
2 Balrampur Chini Mills 12.99 3 5.00% 112.82% 196.65%
3 Shree Renuk Sugars -21.28 2 10.53% 354.33% 354.33%
4 Rana Sugars 7.38 19 15.62% 259.42% 651.52%
5 Dwarikesh Sugar Industries 14 10 -4.54% 167.22% 193.21%
6 EID Parry (India) 13.01 1 24.87% 97.89% 238.03%

(data source: businessline.portfolio)

Outlook for Sugar Sector In India

As Brazil gears up for increased sugar production in upcoming 2023-24 season, global prices are expected to witness further moderation due to influx of incremental supplies into market. This anticipated shift in global supply scenario underscores critical importance of timing exports from Indi to capitalize on potentially higher global prices. While maintaining adequate stock for domestic consumption remains paramount, industry insiders foresee Indi concluding current sugar year with approximately 6 million tonnes of inventory. However, hopes are pinned on favorable policy directives in coming months as clarity emerges regarding production & consumption dynamics for ongoing season.

Looking ahead, Indian sugar producers may face subdued outlook for FY24 & first half of FY25 if cap on ethanol diversion persists. Despite this short-term challenge, ethanol blending program is poised to remain vital tool in containing subsidy bill on crude oil imports. Encouraging investments from sugar molasses & grain-based players in capacity expansion will be instrumental in addressing long-term sustainability concerns.

(data source: businessline.portfolio)

While overarching direction of policies & government initiatives appears aligned with industry objectives, short-term adjustments or tightening measures may become inevitable to curb inflationary pressures. Intricate interplay between supply dynamics, regulatory interventions, & market forces underscores need for strategic foresight & adaptability within sugar sector.

In essence, road ahead for sugar remains fraught with challenges in short term, emphasizing need for prudent navigation & proactive measures to safeguard industry interests amidst evolving market conditions.

Conclusion

While long-term potential of sugar industry remains promising, short-term investment prospects are marred by production uncertainties, regulatory interventions, & pricing pressures. Investors should exercise caution & adopt wait-and-watch approach, closely monitoring policy developments & industry dynamics before considering sugar stocks as viable investment options in short term.

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About the Author

Tanushree is a seasoned professional with 6 years of experience in the Fintech and Edtech industry.

Disclaimer

Investment/Trading in securities Market is subject to market risk, past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. The risk of loss in trading and investment in Securities markets including Equites and Derivatives can be substantial.
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