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India wheat exports remain high despite output concerns

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LONDON : Indian wheat shipments this month have remained strong, with scheduled cargoes already exceeding volumes seen in May in previous years, despite increasing market worries over a weather-induced decline in the nation’s harvest and government-mandated export restrictions.

About 1.33mn t of wheat were earmarked for exports at Indian ports on 1-11 May, including 524,600t added since last Friday, preliminary line-up data show.

A combined 280,000t of the cargoes are bound for Bangladesh — the largest buyer of Indian wheat, while the largest volumes have been scheduled for Indonesia at 311,500t.

A 66,600t cargo has been scheduled for Israel by trading firm Viterra, while Egypt and Thailand are set to receive shipments of 60,000t each. Other buyers this month include the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Yemen and Oman, while a destination has yet to be declared for a 71,500t cargo.

This comes after 1.67mn t of Indian wheat were exported in April by sea, rail and trucks, according to preliminary unaudited data. This also implies 3mn t would already be shipped in April-May, including currently lined-up volumes.

The Indian government aims for wheat exports in the country’s 2022-23 marketing year (April 2022-March 2023) to hit a record 10mn t. The US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service (USDA FAS) last month pegged Indian wheat exports at the same level for this season, up from an estimated 8.5mn t in 2021-22.

But the USDA yesterday pegged India’s 2022-23 wheat exports at 8.5mn t in its first World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (Wasde) report that included global projections for the 2022-23 crop.

The USDA’s lower expectations come as it had a more reduced output estimate than that of the USDA FAS at 108.5mn t. But even this figure has been put in doubt, following persisting hot and dry weather, with some forecasts pegging the nation’s 2022-23 output as low as 93mn t.

The government has been rumoured to consider restricting wheat exports, as early as June, to contain domestic foodstuff prices and ensure the country’s ending stocks remain above its mandated threshold of 7.5mn t. But market participants enquired by Argus have been unable to confirm an imminent limitation of wheat shipments.

And the government recently launched an extensive trade mission to promote wheat exports, sending delegations to Morocco, Tunisia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Algeria and Lebanon — key buyers of crop internationally.

Source : argus

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