India's wheat exports likely to touch 6 mn tonnes: USDA

India's wheat exports likely to touch 6 mn tonnes: USDA New Delhi: India's wheat export is expected to touch 6 million tonnes in the 2012-13 marketing year (MY) on the back of firm global prices, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a report.

"With the current tight open market supplies of wheat, private wheat exports are likely to come down significantly in the coming months. Consequently, we continue to estimate MY 2012-13 exports at 6 million tonnes, which includes 3 million tonnes each of government and open-market wheat," USDA said.

Wheat marketing year in India commences in April and ends in March.

"With export prospects looking favourable on expected firm international wheat prices through the first quarter of calendar year 2013, the government most likely will further augment the government-held wheat export quota," it added.

The government wheat is currently fetching good export rates compared to the PDS wheat price of Rs 2,000-6,100 (USD 36-110) per tonne, MSP for MY 2012-13 of Rs 12,850 (USD 234) per tonne and open market sale sale price for bulk consumers in most states, it said.

The government's decision to export 2 million tonnes of wheat from central stocks fetched a rate in the range of USD 296.70-319.50 per tonne.

In July this year, the government had allowed export of 2 million tonnes of the grain from central pool stocks of Food Corporation of India (FCI) through central public sector undertakings (CPSUs) like STC, MMTC and PEC.

Last week, Commerce Secretary S R Rao had said the Food Ministry will move a proposal for allowing export of an additional 2.5 million tonnes of wheat from the central stocks in order to ease the storage crunch being faced by the country due to an all time high production.

India harvested an all time high wheat crop of 93.90 million tonnes of wheat in the 2011-12 crop year (July-June).

The government has a wheat stock of 37.65 million tonnes as of December 1, 2012, which is more than double the stipulated buffer and strategic stock requirement of 11.2 million tonnes as of January 1, 2013.

United Nation's body, Food and Agriculture Organisation has pegged India's wheat exports to touch 5 million tonnes in the 2012-13 marketing year.

PTI