Wheat export ban to cool down retail prices: Govt
May 14, 2022  20:02
Pointing out that retail prices of wheat and wheat flour have risen in the past year by up to 19 per cent,  Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey on Saturday said the government's decision to ban wheat export is expected to cool down the domestic prices in a week or so.
He said the tight global supply, including a slight fall in wheat output in India, has spiked global prices up sharply. Consequently, the domestic prices of wheat and atta (wheat flour) have also shot up in the last month.
The likely fall in wheat output in India and even in the government's procurement is unlikely to affect the public distribution system (PDS), he said and asserted, "PDS will be run smoothly."
On Friday, the Commerce Ministry imposed a ban on wheat export with immediate effect. However, it has allowed wheat shipments with valid irrevocable letters of credit (LoC) issued on or before the date of the notification.
The country has contracted for the export of 4.5 million tonnes of wheat so far this fiscal. Out of which, 1.46 million tonnes was exported in April, as per the official data.
The Food Secretary, while addressing a press conference along with his Commerce and Agriculture counterpart, said, "Global demand was rising and different countries were putting restrictions. Sentiments were driving prices. We are quite confident, now also the sentiments will push down the prices."
These days in several areas, inflation is imported along with the global prices. And this was happening in the case of wheat also. International wheat prices have been going up. Wheat from other countries was selling as high as USD 420-480 per tonne, he said.
In this backdrop, India had to impose curbs on wheat exports to keep a check on rising domestic prices and protect the interest of consumers, he said.
The decision will definitely help in softening the prices. However, it will not be possible to predict how much prices will fall. "But the domestic prices will no doubt cool down in a week or so," he said on the sidelines of the press conference.
Sharing a presentation on the price situation, Joint Secretary in the Food Ministry Subodh Kumar said: "There is a price rise in last one month and one year as far as wheat and atta is concerned. Prices in the south zone are higher than other zones."
The daily average retail price of wheat has increased by 19.34 per cent to Rs 29.49 per kg on May 9 compared with Rs 24.71 per kg in the year-ago period. Similarly, retail atta prices have shot up by 14.27 per cent to Rs 32.91 per kg from Rs 28.8 per kg in the comparable period, he said.
In the wholesale market too, the daily average price of wheat rose 21.55 per cent to Rs 25.82 per kg on May 9 compared with Rs 21.24 per kg in the year-ago period, while atta price rose 15.88 per cent to Rs 27.89 per kg from 24.06 per kg in the comparable period, he said. -- PTI
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