Pakistan sells 4,000 tonne wheat to India

Mumbai: Traders in Pakistan have sold up to 4,000 tonnes of wheat to India, the first such sale in years, industry officials said.

The port of discharge for the wheat shipment would be Mumbai and the delivery is due May or June. The export price is fixed at $219 to $222 per tonne, traders said, adding that exporters were getting orders from India and the Middle East because of the superior quality of Pakistani wheat.

Pakistan has already allowed the sale of 800,000 tonnes by private traders and removed a 15-per cent duty on exports. The wheat sale is the first since the government stopped wheat exports in May 2003 following a domestic supply shortfall.

The government has set a deadline of June to ship the 800,000 tonnes for private traders. So far, deals for up to 200,000 tonnes have been finalised, they pointed out.

The state-run Trading Corporation of Pakistan, meanwhile, is seeking government approval to restart wheat exports, but traders do not expect the TCP to get involved.

Pakistan''s government lifted a two-and-a-half-year ban on all wheat exports in January on expectations of a bumper harvest of 23 million tonnes this year.

Traders said the government was holding more than 2 million tonnes of wheat stocks in excess of buffer norms and more arrivals had created a storage problem.

They said the exportable total would increase as the government planned to export supplies over and above the domestic requirement of 20.5 million tonnes.