The government on Tuesday announced a relaxation on its orders restricting wheat exports. It has been decided that wherever wheat consignments have been handed over to Customs for examination and registered into their systems on or before May 13, such consignments would be allowed for export, according to an official statement.
The relaxation by the commerce ministry, which relates to the May 13 DGFT order that restricted wheat exports, applies to consignments handed over to customs on or before May 13. Even though wheat exports have been banned, the Indian government has said exports could still take place if New Delhi approved a request by other governments “to meet their food securities needs”. Egypt was in talks with India on the exemption.
Wheat consignment headed for Egypt is already under loading at the Kandla Port. “The government also allowed a wheat consignment headed for Egypt, which was already under loading at the Kandla port. This followed a request by the Egyptian government to permit the wheat cargo being loaded at the Kandla port,” the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
It added that Mera International India, the company engaged for export of the wheat to Egypt, had also given a representation for completion of loading of 61,500 MT of wheat. Of this, 44,340 MT of wheat had already been loaded and only 17,160 MT was left to be loaded. “The government decided to permit the full consignment of 61,500 MT and allowed it to sail from Kandla to Egypt,” the ministry said.
On Tuesday, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), a commerce ministry arm that deals with export- and import-related matters, also asked authorities to issue registration of contracts (RCs) to the wheat exporters who have irrevocable letters of credit (LoC). The government has also allowed wheat outbound shipments with valid irrevocable LoC.
The government last week, on May 13, banned the export of wheat with immediate effect in order to control food prices in the domestic market. “The decision to restrict wheat exports will control food prices, strengthen the food security of India and countries facing a deficit, and that India remains a reliable supplier as it is honouring all contracts,” the consumer affairs, food & public distribution ministry had said last week.
It had added that the decision to restrict wheat exports will control food prices, strengthen the food security of India and countries facing a deficit, and that India remains a reliable supplier as it is honouring all contracts.
In India, the daily average retail price of wheat increased 19.34 per cent to Rs 29.49 per kg on May 9, compared with Rs 24.71 per kg a year ago. Internationally, the wheat price on Monday jumped to 435 euros (USD 453) per tonne as the European market opened.
Wheat Production & Stock in India
India’s wheat production has been revised lower to 105-106 million tonnes for the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) from an earlier estimate of 111 million tonnes, due to heatwave, especially in northwestern India. The government will also buy a sharply lower quantity of wheat — 19.5 million tonnes, down from a targeted 44 million tonnes.
The country’s opening stock of wheat stood at 19 million tonnes, lower than last year’s balance of 27.3 million tonnes. “So, if you total up, against the stocks of 70.6 million last year, this year our stocks would be 37.5 million tonnes,” Pandey has said.
“Global demand was rising and different countries were putting restrictions. Sentiments were driving prices. We are quite confident, now also the sentiments will push down the prices,” the food secretary recently said.