First rice, now wheat: India rides on world grain commerce bandwagon

After rice, India is ready to show a serious exporter of wheat as properly – because of surging worldwide costs from Chinese stockpiling and ultra-low rate of interest cash more and more discovering its method into agri-commodity markets.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Tuesday upped its forecast of Indian wheat exports for 2020-21 (July-June) to 1.eight million tonnes (mt), as in opposition to its earlier estimate of 1 mt. That could be the best ever within the final six years (see chart).

The trebling of shipments this 12 months is especially on the again of rising world costs. Wheat future contracts for March supply on the Chicago Board of Trade change are presently at $244.35 per tonne, 18.3% greater than the $206.59 a 12 months in the past. This opens up prospects for Indian exports to close by markets, particularly Bangladesh that buys largely from Russia.
With the Russia authorities levying a 25 euros-per-tonne export tax on wheat efficient from February 15 – in response to excessive home costs – Bangladesh “is beginning to shift its purchases towards India”, the USDA has famous in its newest world grain commerce report. Bangladesh’s whole wheat imports are positioned at 6.6 mt in 2020-21.
Traders, nevertheless, imagine that Indian wheat remains to be not aggressive on the authorities’s minimal assist value (MSP) of Rs 19,750 per tonne. The export value of wheat purchased in Gujarat at that price – after including roughly Rs 1,200 in direction of value of cleansing, bagging, loading and transport to Kandla or Mundra port – could be Rs 20,950 per tonne.
That works out to $286 per tonne or $290-plus, after including exporter margins.
The above value is greater than the $275-280 that main exporters equivalent to Australia, France, US, Russia and Canada are quoting for March-April shipments. Indian grain, furthermore, fetches a $10-15/tonne low cost relative to Australian premium white and Russian wheat having extra protein content material (12.5% versus 11.5%) and fewer international matter/impurities.
“In all, given our MSP, we are $25 or so per tonne costlier today,” mentioned Amit Takkar, managing director, Conifer Commodities Pvt. Ltd.
That drawback can, after all, be overcome if wheat is sourced at beneath MSP from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra, the place not a lot authorities procurement occurs. The new crop arriving in these markets from March onwards could be out there at Rs 17,000-18,000/tonne. This wheat could be exported by rail rakes to Bangladesh or shipped to the Middle East (UAE, Oman and Bahrain) and Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia).
The USDA report, in the meantime, has additionally estimated India’s rice imports to have hit a file 14.four mt in 2020, up from 9.79 mt and 11.791 mt of the previous two years. The nation’s closest opponents – Thailand and Vietnam – have seen their exports throughout this era fall from 11.056 mt to 7.562 mt and 5.5 mt and from 6.59 mt to six.581 mt and 6.1 mt, respectively. Both have had drought-reduced crops, with Vietnam lately even contracting 70,000 tonnes of Indian rice for the primary time, following China in December.

USDA has projected India’s rice imports in 2021 at 14 mt. Bangladesh, which imported simply 80,000 tonnes in 2020, is predicted to purchase one mt this 12 months. The beneficiary of it should once more be India. “Despite concerns about the availability of shipping containers, which is impacting rice exports from Vietnam and Thailand, India can export to Bangladesh via rail and truck,” the report added.
All this export demand isn’t unhealthy at a time when India’s personal home manufacturing of rice and wheat touched an all-time-high of 118.43 mt and 107.59 mt, respectively, in 2019-20. Government companies additionally procured a file 52 mt of rice and 38.99 mt of wheat. This 12 months, too, related bumper crops are probably.
The key driver of worldwide value turnaround appears to be China. USDA information has forecast file Chinese imports of oilseeds (primarily soyabean) and coarse grain (maize and sorghum) in 2020-21 (October-September), other than end-year shares of rice and wheat. The causes for its constructing strategic stockpiles of all the pieces aren’t as totally clear as their impact on worldwide costs.