India Seeks to Export Wheat to Egypt on Bulging Stockpile

India is in talks with Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat buyer, to sell the grain as record harvests swell stockpiles at state warehouses.

The South Asian nation is seeking to be included on Egypt’s General Authority for Supply Commodities list of approved wheat suppliers, Egyptian Trade and Supply Minister Bassem Oda said in an e-mailed statement today. India is ready to submit offers of wheat exports and import facilities to Egypt, Oda said after meeting with a delegation of Indian government officials.

India, the world’s second-biggest wheat producer, authorized exports of 5 million metric tons from state reserves by private companies, Food Minister K.V. Thomas said March 7. That’s in addition to 4.5 million tons already approved for shipment by government-run companies since July, he said.

India’s shipments are adding to global supplies as Australia predicts a 13 percent increase in its harvest, snow replenishes soil moisture in the U.S., the biggest shipper, and Argentina eases export curbs.

“Egypt has to approve quarantine issues with Indian wheat and India has to be very competitive, as Egypt buys the cheapest wheat in the world,” said Tejinder Narang, an adviser with Emmsons International Ltd. in New Delhi.

U.S. wheat is currently available at $283 a ton free on board compared with an Indian price of $305, Narang said.

Government Inventories

India’s wheat production may total 92.3 million tons in the year ending in June, near the record 94.9 million tons a year earlier, according to the farm ministry. State stockpiles expanded 27 percent to 27.1 million tons at the start of this month. The government plans to boost purchases from farmers to 44 million tons in the marketing year starting April 1 from 38.1 million tons a year earlier, the Food Ministry said Feb. 19.

GASC may import between 3.8 million and 3.9 million tons of wheat in the 12 months starting July 1, Nomani Nomani said in an interview Jan. 12, when he was still vice chairman of the organization. Nomani stepped down from the role last month and became an adviser to Oda.

Egypt’s total wheat imports will fall to 9.5 million tons in the 12 months ending in June from a record 11.7 million tons a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. Egypt has 2.686 million tons of domestic and imported wheat in stockpiles, enough to meet consumption for 109 days, the cabinet said today.