Explainer: What India’s u-turn on wheat exports means for world markets

SINGAPORE, Might 16 (Reuters) – India’s ban on wheat exports has delivered a contemporary blow to world markets already reeling from tight provides as a consequence of output points in conventional export powerhouses Canada, Europe and Australia and snarled provide traces within the war-torn Black Sea space.

Benchmark wheat futures in Chicago jumped by their 6% restrict on Monday as markets reacted to the ban introduced over the weekend, igniting alarm amongst buying and selling companies and importers who had been banking on thousands and thousands of tonnes of Indian wheat being obtainable for cargo over the approaching months.

Beneath is a short explainer on what’s at stake for the world grain markets.

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India was initially eyeing as a lot as 12 million tonnes of wheat exports in 2022/23, considerably greater than final 12 months’s file exports of seven.2 million tonnes.

After harvesting 5 consecutive file crops, New Delhi hoped a sixth crop could be even greater at 111.32 million tonnes.

However a heat-wave throughout an important crop improvement section dented yields, forcing the federal government to chop its output estimate to 105 million tonnes. learn extra

Decrease output coupled with robust export demand then pushed native costs greater, typically above the federal government’s fastened procurement worth.

That prompted farmers to promote wheat privately as an alternative of to the state, whose purchases to run welfare schemes slumped as a consequence of tight provides.


India is the world’s second largest wheat producer behind China, however not often exports a lot grain as a consequence of excessive government-subsidized home costs and large home meals wants.

Nonetheless, improved seed choice and farm administration over the previous decade had put the nation on the right track for a brand new file crop this 12 months, opening the door to an export increase simply as international crop markets actually wanted further provides.

Indian wheat exporters had eyed gross sales of as much as 12 million tonnes within the 2022/23 season, which might have positioned India because the eight largest exporter, not far behind Canada with a projected 15.5 million tonnes.

Prime locations for Indian exports included Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal and Turkey, and prime international purchaser Egypt lately agreed to make a primary ever buy of Indian wheat as Cairo tried to switch misplaced shipments from the Black Sea.


Russia, Europe, america and Canada are historically the highest international wheat exporters, and accounted for roughly 60% of world wheat exports from 2015 by means of 2020, in accordance with the U.S. Division of Agriculture.

Nonetheless, every has confronted vital wheat crop setbacks in latest seasons, with their collective export share dropping to solely 50.7% within the 2021-22 season, primarily as a consequence of drought in North America and Europe. learn extra

This 12 months’s export tonnage had been anticipated to recuperate till Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – a fellow main wheat producer and provider – severed shipments from that area and sparked a scramble by main patrons to seek out substitute provides.

Australia is slated to be the third largest wheat exporter this 12 months, however suffered some high quality deterioration in sure areas simply earlier than harvest and has already sealed offers on a majority of exportable volumes.


During the last three seasons, Egypt, Indonesia, China, Turkey and Algeria have been the highest 5 wheat importers. Different main importers embody Bangladesh, Morocco, Nigeria and Brazil.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatened to dam wheat provides from the Black Sea, large patrons in Africa and the Center East have struggled to seek out replacements, since most various exporters don’t start this 12 months’s harvest till June.

The exception this 12 months had been India, which wrapped up its primary wheat harvest this month and so had a uncommon abundance of contemporary wheat inventories.


The sudden ban on exports means a majority of the brand new crop will now keep inside India.

Buying and selling companies which have already secured letters of credit score to export grain shall be allowed to proceed with these gross sales.

Remaining segments of the crop that had been anticipated to be exported will now have to be bought or saved domestically. learn extra

Native wheat markets have already began to react to the ban, with costs falling as much as 2% over the weekend in numerous spot markets.

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Reporting by Gavin Maguire in Singapore and Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai; Enhancing by Jan Harvey

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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