India is expected to import up to 4 million tonnes of wheat this fiscal year, despite a bumper harvest, due to the cheaper availability of the commodity in the international markets.
Rajiv Yadav, vice president at COFCO Agri, said: Depending on how the monsoon progresses, India is likely to import about 3 to 4 million tonnes of wheat until April.
According to Yadav, about 3 lakh tonnes of imports have already been contracted with Ukrainian suppliers. The landed cost of imported wheat is about Rs 18/kg, while the domestic wheat price is Rs 20/kg, said Yadav.
Mainly, mills from south India find it cheaper to import than buying and transporting wheat from Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh in north India.
Prerana Desai, research head, EdelweissAgri Services and Credit, confirmed that wheat imports are continuing, albeit at a slower pace. Wheat imports in the current year will be slightly lesser than last year's wheat import, said Desai.
Although India produced a record 96.6 million tonnes of wheat in 2017 as compared to 92.3 million tonnes in the previous year, the availability in the open market has not improved significantly mainly because the government procured more to refill its depleted stocks.
The procurement of wheat as on July 7 for the rabi marketing season (RMS) 2017-18 is up by 34% to 308.01 lakh tonnes against the procurement of 229.62 lakh tonnes in the corresponding period of RMS 2016-17. The ending stocks in the central pool had depleted from 15.5 million tonnes in 2015-16 to 13 million tonnes in 2016-17.
However, trade sources say that the import of superior quality of wheat that comes from Australia may not be much this year as the price is high.
Original Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com