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Agri Commoditiesí Exporters Hope to Make Hay with Rs Bilateral pacts 17 May 2012  
Agri Commoditiesí Exporters Hope to Make Hay with Rs Bilateral pacts

Agri Commodities’ Exporters Hope to Make Hay with Rs Bilateral pacts


CHANDIGARH, May 16 Exporters hold the view  that shipments of agricultural commodities like wheat, sugar and cotton could pick up if India could sew up bilateral pacts with countries in the Middle East, Africa and the SAARC bloc.

While they say that Indian agri commodity exports have become unviable due to the comfortable global stock and  a slowdown in the world economy, the weak rupee makes them confident of steady demand for the country’s agri products in the global market if bilateral pacts are in place.

Apprising that bilateral pacts have in the past ensured exports of wheat to Afghanistan and Bangladesh and could further boost Indian exports, an analyst of a leading export firm pointed out that Iran, a major importer, was procuring wheat from Australia and Canada. He believes that India can export wheat to Iran, SAARC and West African countries with the help of bilateral trade pacts. Basmati exporters look forward to a trade pact with China.

At present, wheat prices are under pressure due to expectations of a bumper crop in India, While maintaining that India has to market its wheat aggressively before the arrival of the new crop from Russia in the next two months, the analyst apprise that Canadian and Australian exporters are casting aspersions on Indian wheat by alleging that it is afflicted with a fungal disease.

In terms of price, Indian wheat is quoting much higher at $270-275 a tonne in the Middle East and SAARC as compared to wheat form Argentina and Australia, which are quoting at $230-232 and $245, respectively. Indian Pulses and Grain Association President, Mr Pravin Dongre, points out that exporters and merchant houses were finding the commodity procurement costly and its movement to the ports unviable. He believes that ideally there would be takers for wheat if it were priced in the range of $225-230 a tonne FOB.

Lately, Indian exporters have taken a hit because of the drop in demand for cotton in China. To add to the woes, ginners and traders point out that multinational merchants have begun offloading pressed cotton lots to local mills in Gujarat and Punjab.

Claiming that India’s vague export policy had cost the exporters dear, the Cotton Association of India President , Mr Dhiren Sheth, pointes out that the demand in the global market is negligible, excluding the sluggish purchases made by Pakistan and Bangladesh. However, looking at the bright said, Indian exporters could get a shot in the arm as China is likely to issue an import quota of one million tonnes.

Moving to sugar, demand for the sweetner in the global market is weak due to ample stocks on the back of good output in India and Thailand.

A top New Delhi-based exporter said that the Brazilian policy would decide as to how much sugar would be used for processing and how much would go towards ethanol. Sugar traders point out that white sugar future prices were quoting at $643 a tonne as on April 1, which at present are ruling at $560 on account of expected higher supply from India.

However, Basmati and non-Basmati rice exports have managed to buck the trend. Both look viable with Indian Basmati prices quoting in the range of $800 to $1,500 a tonne and Indian parboiled rice quoting at $520 a tonne, compared to Thailand’s $590 a tonne.

While maintaining that there is good demand in the global market for Basmati, the All India Rice Exporters’ Association President, Mr Vijay Setia, said that he expects to see a 10 per cent increase in exports this year.

Besides, an official of exporting firm feels that Vietnam and Myanmar’s prices of $345 a tone compared to the Indian price of $380 a tone is a challenge.

The dwindling rupee has also lifted the spirits of tea exporters. Pointing out that foreign buyers would start bargaining hard in case of a further crash in the rupee, the Indian Tea Association (India) Chairman, Mr C.S.Bedi, said they would try to cut prices on the ground that Indian exporters are getting more in rupee terms. While admitting that exports were not much at present, he expects it to pick up soon.


(Source: Exim India Dt. 17.05.2012)
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