Wheat harvest season expected to bring down imports

India has imported over five million tonnes of wheat since mid-2016.

The Dollar Business Bureau

India has of late emerged as one of the biggest net importer of wheat, buying over five million tonnes since mid-2016, the country’s biggest annual purchase in over a decade. 

Last year, the government had focused on importing wheat in a colossal quantity in order to meet the rising demand of the commodity in the domestic market. 

India’s total wheat production registered a shortfall in the last two years due to unfavourable weather conditions. This year’s production, however, seems to be meeting the domestic expectations, as the government is also looking to cut down on the inbound shipments of the commodity as the harvest season approaches in April. 

The government will contemplate over the future purchases of wheat, depending upon the total production of the commodity at the end of the season.

According to the traders, the domestic production is expected to better the last two years’. However, it seems that the government will have to sign a few more deals in the upcoming months to keep up with the domestic demand of the product. The new import order is expected to be around 200,000 - 300,000 tonnes as the domestic production will bring down the total imports requirements. 

According to the trade data compiled by Thomson Reuters, India has placed import orders for as much as 5.1 million tonnes of wheat since July 1. Meanwhile, traders estimate wheat import orders to be around 5.2 million tonnes. 

In January alone, India imported over one million tonnes of wheat, while the total imports have already reached about 400,000 tonnes. 

The Indian government felt the need to start importing wheat around June-July last year after unfavourable weather conditions in the last two years hit the domestic wheat output. 

India has imported wheat mainly from Australia and Ukraine. This year, winter wheat planting was up almost 7% to 31.78 million hectares in India.