India is likely to export 4.4 million tonnes (mt) of rice in 2007, almost the same as a year ago, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said in its latest outlook.
The report said Indian rice export prices were expected to increase, with the state-run procurement agency, Food Corp. of India (FCI), setting a higher rate for purchases from farmers and a supply squeeze in the aromatic basmati rice.
The rise of the rupee against the dollar will also make Indian exports dearer, the report said. The rupee strengthened against the dollar to reach a nine-year peak of 40.28 on 28 May. It was trading at 40.702/712 per dollar at 2.10pm.
India’s Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices has recommended a minimum support price of Rs675 for 100kg of grade ‘A’ paddy (unmilled rice) and Rs645 for 100kg of common varieties during the 2007-08 (July-June) season. This is an increase of Rs65 per 100kg over the prices offered in the 2006-07 procurement season. The report said global basmati prices are likely to rise, reflecting supply shortages of the aromatic variety in India and Pakistan. “There’s more demand this time as many buyers from the Middle East are opting for Indian basmati instead of basmati from Pakistan, hence we are facing a shortage,” said a senior executive with Amritsar-based Lal Qilla Rice. “The prices of traditional Indian basmati rice are ruling at $1,400 (Rs57,400) per tonne compared with $700 a year ago,” he added.
India produced 91.05mt of rice during the 2006-07 crop year compared with 91.79mt in the previous year, as per latest government estimates.
The report said import demand is expected to drive international trade to a new high of 30.2mt in 2007, largely spurred by a return of Indonesia as a major rice importer. FAO revised India’s wheat imports in 2007-08 to 3mt, up 1mt over its May forecast, but lower than 6.5mt of a year ago.
But FAO said the forecast for India’s wheat purchases were tentative as much would depend on the final outcome of this year’s harvest and price developments in the domestic market. State-run State Trading Corp. this month scrapped a tender for 1mt of wheat imports on high prices.
FCI has procured 10.79mt of wheat as on 11 June, compared with 9.23mt last year. Wheat output for 2006-07 is seen at 73.70mt compared with 69.35mt, as per latest data.