July 10 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat imports by Pakistan, Asia’s third-largest producer, may climb to the highest level in five years after a decline in the harvest boosted local prices, according to a traders group.
“We may import up to 500,000 tons of wheat this year,” said Abdul Kalim Baakza, senior vice chairman of the Karachi-based Wheat Traders’ Association of Pakistan. That’s the highest since 2008-2009 when the country imported 3.1 million metric tons, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Traders have already bought a total of 200,000 tons from the Black Sea region, broker Javed Yaseen Co. said July 5.
Wheat futures in Chicago have tumbled 29 percent from a four year high as farmers around the world are set to boost production to a record this year and as importers shunned U.S. supplies for cheaper grain from Russia and Ukraine.
Pakistan’s output probably reached 23.5 million tons in 2012-2013 that ended in June, down from 24 million tons a year earlier and compared with the government’s target of 25.5 million tons, Baakza said in a July 8 interview. Imports should help lower domestic prices that have climbed to about 1,300 rupees ($12.99) per 40 kilograms, above the rate of 1,200 rupees set by the government to support farmers’ income, he said.
Futures dropped 13 percent to $6.77 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade this year. Prices reached $9.4725 in July 2012.
Output reached 24.3 million tons in 2012-2013 from 23.4 million tons a year earlier, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research estimates.
Four importers purchased cargoes of 50,000 tons each from Russia, Ukraine and Romania for delivery from August to October at prices from $280 to $289 a ton, including cost and freight, Karachi-based Javed Yaseen said.
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