India likely to import 5MT of wheat in 2016-17

Much higher than estimated wheat imports could help to boost standard wheat prices.

The Dollar Business Bureau

The wheat imports of India could rise in 2016-17, which will subsequently force the country to cut down on import taxes as incessant droughts lowered the output amid high demand, said an ITC executive on Friday.

While the output of grains in India may slope downwards by 2.3% to about 85 million tonnes, India may import 5 million tonnes wheat in 2016-2017, said ITC’s group head of agri and IT businesses, Sivakumar.

ITC, a giant in consumer products and a multi-billion dollar group, is one among the top private wheat buyers.

Wheat imports will be the highest at 5 million tonnes since 6.7 MT of wheat was imported in 2006-07. In the previous year, 5,00,000 tonnes of wheat was imported, claims the data available with USDA.

Much higher than estimated wheat imports could help India to boost its standard wheat prices.

India the largest producer and consumer of grains, had aimed to produce 94 MT wheat this crop year. However, traders predict that there is a possibility of below target output. The buffer stocks also have fallen below the target for this year.

USDA forecasts that India’s wheat stock will dip to 17.2 MT in 2015-16 from output of 24.2 MT recorded two years back. Government run agencies purchased 23 MT so far, which is lower than 28 MT a year ago. Currently, authorities levy 25% tax on wheat imports in India.


The Dollar Business Bureau - Jun 11, 2016 12:00 IST