Islamabad, August 10:

A day after Pakistan issued formal notification allowing sugar imports from India, the price of the commodity in the wholesale market fell by Rs 1 Pakistani Currency (PC) per kg, predicting a further decline in sugar prices.

Sugar, which was selling at Rs 29 PC per kg in the wholesale market, came down to Rs 28 PC per kg as most of the hoarders started selling the commodity fearing a further fall in the price. “Pakistan’s strong sugar lobby is expected to flood market with their stocks to save their investment, which seems to be at risk,” a retailer said adding that hoarders could not make huge profits by depriving the masses.

The government yesterday issued formal notification allowing sugar imports from India after the cabinet last week lifted a ban on Indian sugar imports and allowed the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to buy a further 100,000 tonnes to boost its stocks. The step was taken in a bid to check sugar prices, which hit a five-year high in February. A senior official said that the government was keen to build up sufficient stocks of sugar ahead of Ramadan (the Muslim month of fasting), which begins in October, and when consumption usually goes up. Indian exporters, who had imported raw sugar in this season under an obligation to re-export it in refined form within 24 months, were willing to offer sugar at $375 a tonne at the Wagah border in India’s Punjab state.

Pakistan and India import commodities from as far away as South America despite having surpluses to meet each other’s needs.

The official said that sugar mills were still holding stocks of about one million tonnes and had started to release it. “We’ll have to see the actual requirement for imports from India once this sugar is available in the market,” said the official requesting anonymity.

Meanwhile, two ships from China carrying 25,000 tonnes of white refined sugar have also reached Pakistan. Besides, small quantities of sugar priced between $335 and $355 per tonne were arriving daily from the Gulf countries, taking the total to around 60,000 tonnes of white refined sugar imported during July 2005.

Similarly 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes of sugar was expected to reach the Karachi Port by the end of this month from Brazil.