Sugar prices in the UAE have increased by up to eight per cent in the past couple of months due to a surge in global prices.

But UAE prices are expected to drop soon as India is set to export sugar under an arrangement through the National Cooperative for Exports Ltd (NCEL), which was established to help cooperative societies tap the global export market and support them to produce and manufacture products that are in line with international standards.

India has imposed a ban on sugar exports in order to keep local prices in check. However, the ban does not apply to exports to the European Union and the US. Under this new NCEL mechanism, the government will directly deal with farmers and export the commodities, doing away with the need for middlemen. The UAE could also be added in the list of countries under NCEL where India could export its sugar.

Dr. Dhananjay Datar, chairman and managing director, Al Adil Trading, said the current stock being sold in the market is mainly imported from Brazil.

“There has been an eight per cent increase in sugar prices locally in the past two months. But once the Indian sugar arrives in the local market, prices will go down,” Dr Datar told Khaleej Times in an interview on Monday.

Sugar prices are trading at the highest prices since 2011 globally due to lower supplies after unusually dry weather damaged harvests in India and Thailand, the world's second and third-largest exporters. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization also warned about a 2 per cent drop in global sugar production in 2023-24, compared with the previous year, a loss of about 3.5 million metric tons.

Kamal Vachani, group director and partner at Al Maya Group, said the UAE has been traditionally importing sugar from Brazil, India, Thailand and some parts of Europe.

“These regions have been the constant supplier of sugar to the UAE as these countries’ production capacity and trade relations are good. The global sugar prices in the current scenario can import from Mexico, Australia and even some African nations that have been increasing sugar production from time to time,” he said.

Vachani added that the UAE is in a comfortable position when it comes to sugar stock.

Dr. Datar added that Thailand and Germany are the other markets that could be tapped to import sugar.