India may call off wheat import tender

India may call off wheat import tender

New Delhi / Mumbai: India, the world’s third biggest wheat buyer last year, may scrap a tender to buy 350,000 tonnes because it judged prices offered by Glencore International AG, Cargill Inc. and Toepfer International to be high.

Government-owned State Trading Corp. had on 17 December got bids for 330,000 tonnes, less than the 350,000 tonnes it sought to buy, at $460 (Rs18,216) a tonne to $570 a tonne, a government official said. India paid an average $396 a tonne for 150,000 tonnes on 7 December.

Wheat rose above $10 a bushel for the first time on 17 December on concern dry weather in Argentina will cause global supplies to shrink. India, importing wheat for a second year to raise state reserves, may wait a few months before issuing a new tender. India has imported 1.79 million tonnes (mt) of wheat since July, helping support the near doubling in prices this year on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had on 21 December said local supplies of the grain will determine the extent of imports.

“It’s not a factor of prices alone, it’s a factor of food security," he said. “We won’t compromise on food security."

The government had said on 18 December it is confident of meeting an output target of 75.5mt as favourable weather spurs plantings.