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Indian wheat a threat to US, Australia?
Business Standard, India, March 4, 2004
Australia and the United States, world’s biggest wheat exporters, feel Indian wheat exports could become a threat in their traditional markets when wheat exports from India are resumed.

Both countries are monitoring wheat exports from India as it is hurting their global trade, according to a report by foreign agriculture service of USA.

Indian wheat sales in south and south-east Asia have hurt Australian and US grain exports. Almost half of Indian wheat exports last year went to south-east Asia.

Wheat from countries like India hammered down soft red winter wheat ( SRW) exports to Asia from the two nations, from 1.2 million tons just four years ago to less than 100,000 tons last year.

Major SRW markets like Sri Lanka and the Philippines turned to Indian wheat owing to its lower landed price.

Australian exports have been hit by Indian exports to Persian Gulf states as well as into Australia’s largest market - Indonesia. The Gulf region absorbed 19 per cent of India’s total exports.

US and Australia wheat exporters were worried despite the stoppage in Indian wheat exports following the lowest wheat production in five years last year. India exported a record 5.3 million tonnes in 2003 before the government decided to stop exports.

The government discontinued allocation of wheat for export in August 2003. Shipments were made between July and December of 2003 but only against outstanding contracts. Exports have come down significantly in recent weeks as most outstanding contracts have been fulfiled.

US and Australian wheat exporters were likely seize this opportunity to launch a bid recapture lost Asian markets. US corn could also gain as feed compounders would have to switch from feed-quality wheat imports to coarser grains.

However, US has cautioned these gains could be temporary, as the Indian crop was expected to be huge this year following a good monsoon.

The Indian government was yet to decide on renewal of wheat exports. Till the late 1990s, India and Pakistan were wheat importers, with India buying 2 million tons and Pakistan 4 million tons.

Huge harvests in the region thereafter led both nations to become wheat exporters.
MGR Archive 5.3.2004
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Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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