In today's Finshots brief, we will discuss
- Why the association of sugar mills wants you to eat more sugar
- And cheap airline tickets
The sugar conundrum
“Avoid sugar!” It's the first advice most of us receive whenever we raise concerns about our health. But curiously, that’s not the mantra that ISMA (association of India’s sugar mills) wants us to follow. So much so that it has launched a knowledge portal ‘meetha.org’ to educate masses about the benefits of sugar consumption.
This whole exercise is quite elaborate and mills have begun an online campaign in order to boost domestic demand, involving workshops and webinars. Everyone from nutritionists and endocrinologists, to public health experts are expected to share their expertise and explain how moderate consumption of sugar is beneficial for our health and productivity.
Anyway, the sudden spurt in activity was largely prompted by the fact that India seems to have excess stockpiles of sugar.
See, production of sugarcane attracts farmers because of the relatively high minimum support price for the crop. Also, government schemes and policies mandating sugar mills to buy from producers within a specified radius, plus other cost-saving incentives, acts as a safety net for sugarcane farmers and makes it an attractive commodity to grow.
Another major factor is the sturdiness of the crop to withstand fluctuations in weather. In fact, because cane farmers have to put in little effort by way of inputs and manhours in growing these crops as compared to others, it is aptly often considered the ‘lazy crop’.
But the problem is that while cane producers have gone on producing sugar, the consumption has been stagnant since 2015.
Although, India is the largest consumer and the second largest producer of sugar in the world, the per capita consumption of Indians is below the world average; with Ahmedabad and Mumbai consuming the most amount of sugar.
This excessive production has led to unused inventories which have become a headache for the government as well as the mills because they have no place to store them. Excessive supply means the prices remain low in the market, and this is something the industry body is keen to change.
Now the thing is, the increased demand would help the government because it doesn’t want to depend on exports to clear the stockpile. The cost of sugarcane production is high, which in turn adds to the cost of sugar and makes it less competitive in the global market. They try and bring down the price by offering export subsidies. But this only shifts the burden from the producers to the government. So yeah... If they have to move the excess stockpiles, they need you to eat more sugar.
It is what it is!!!
Free seats for everyone
In a bid to emerge from the losses thrown their way due to COVID-19, airlines abroad have resorted to discount-pricing like never before. They are practically giving away seats.
No, we aren’t kidding. Airlines in the US and Europe have come up with 2-1 and 3-1 offers where passengers can book two or in some cases even three seats for the price of one!
While airlines have been keeping the middle seat empty to maintain social distancing, giving three seats for the price of one enables travellers to book the entire row for the price of a single seat.
With such discounts, airlines are hoping to revive enough demand so as to break even and stay afloat till the crisis passes. Where earlier, holidays led to a surge in prices, the airlines are now doing the exact opposite, slashing prices massively in order to attract more passengers.
So yeah!!! That's what's happening now.
Monday Blues for Reliance
So Reliance (RIL) suffered a bit of a setback yesterday after the company's stock was hammered once the financial results for the quarter were made public. Long story short. The company couldn't sell its oil products because of the lockdown and if you want to know more, read the full story here.
Netflix making inroads in India
Also, according to a report, Netflix is likely to close 2020 with 4.6 million paid subscribers in India. That's a massive number. You can read more about this story here.