India considers allowing shipments of wheat stuck in ports

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NEW DELHI: India is considering allowing traders to send some wheat to ports after a sudden ban on grain exports, trade and government sources said on Thursday.

New Delhi banned wheat exports on Saturday as a strong heatwave hit output and domestic prices reached record highs.

The sudden ban on wheat exports has left about 1.8 million tonnes of grain stranded at the port, potentially forcing traders to incur heavy losses.

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On Tuesday, the government allowed the export of grain awaiting tariff clearance. But traders are pushing the government to ease sanctions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is examining the demands of wheat traders, an official source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

“We will check the eligibility of the demand and no real trader will be harassed,” said a source who declined to be identified, in line with government regulations.

The government may want to know the export information of the last few months that they are real traders.

The government is aware that many real exporters are stuck due to the sudden embargo, says a New Delhi-based dealer with a global trade body.

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“The government is trying to make concessions in a way that protects real exporters,” said the dealer, who declined to be named, in line with his company’s policy.

Many wholesale grain markets have been shut down due to the sudden ban. Domestic wheat prices have fallen by more than 4 percent.

Along with traders, transporters are also getting impatient, their trucks waiting at the port for unloading wheat.

The New Delhi-based dealer said, “Fragmentation will not help and the government will have to resolve the issue in the next few days to avoid the (payment) default chain.”

(Reporting by Mayank Bharadwaj and Rajendra Yadav; Editing by Lisa Schumacher)

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