LAHORE

Amidst high price of wheat in local market, the Karachi-based private importers have struck the deal of purchasing around 500,000 tons of wheat with Russian states and the shipment for this deal will start in mid of August.

The wheat of Russian states was purchased at $260-280 per ton while the present prices of local wheat in the country hover at around $330-40 per ton. The wheat traders said that shipment of around 50,000 tons of wheat from Russia, booked by the Karachi-based dealers in May last, is reaching next week, as the country continues a new round of wheat imports.

They said that local importers had also negotiated wheat purchase of about 350,000 tons from Ukraine for the month of Sept at around $260-280 per ton. They said that disappointing wheat harvest at local level this year has generated the import demand.

According to them, more than 10 million wheat is produced in the country every year while 0.5 to 0.7 million tons of wheat on average is imported for domestic usage.

Pakistan Flour Mills Association Punjab chairman Mian Riaz said that the rate of Ukraine’s wheat is at around $265 per metric ton, therefore, despite being buffer production, Pakistan is importing high quantity of wheat to balance last year’s export of wheat from Pakistan. He added that the rate of Pakistan’s wheat has increased to $280 per metric ton and, as such, international market has stepped back from buying wheat, although the quality of wheat is much better than the wheat from Ukraine, India and Sri Lanka. Moreover, there is unchecked trade of wheat from Balochistan to Afghanistan by road. He added that a huge quantity of wheat has been smuggled to Afghanistan due to low production of wheat in Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, creating shortage of wheat in many areas of country, resulting into import of wheat from international market.  It is to be noted that despite having bumper production, the PBS report showed that country’s export of wheat remained on downward track as its export reported 86.79 per cent decrease. During the period of 2013-14, country managed to export 20,142 metric tons of wheat worth $7.05 million as compared to 168,874 metric tons of 2012-13 which amounted to $53.4 million.