NEW DELHI : India’s wheat exports hit 7.85 million tonnes (mt) in the fiscal year to March, an all-time high and a sharp increase from 2.1 mt in the previous year, traders said, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine cuts off rival Black Sea supplies.
Earlier this month, a top government official said India would export a record 7 mt of wheat in the 2021-22 fiscal year as a rally in global prices gave the world’s second biggest producer of the grain an opportunity to gain market share.
India achieved its target of exporting 7 mt of wheat on March 21, according to the Indian government, which is yet to issue wheat shipment data for the last 10 days of March.
Traders said wheat shipments, including cargoes sold to neighbouring Bangladesh by land, totalled 7.85 mt in 2021-22, surpassing the target of 7 mt and indicating robust exports in the 2022-23 fiscal year that began on April 1.
Other than Bangladesh, India exported wheat to South Korea, Sri Lanka, Oman and Qatar, among others, traders said. Most export deals were signed at between $225 and $335 a tonne free on board, they said.
“Business has been very brisk, and both Mundra and Kandla ports have been very busy handling outbound wheat cargoes,” said Rajesh Paharia Jain, a leading New Delhi-based trader.
As war raged across the Black Sea region, global wheat prices have surged, and supplies from both Russia and Ukraine, which together account for about 29 per cent of global wheat exports, have dropped substantially.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation” to demilitarise the country. Western countries call it an unprovoked war of aggression.
India’s new season wheat harvest is underway, and this year’s production is pegged at a record 111.32 million tonnes — the sixth straight surplus output — encouraging traders to clinch more export deals.