The first shipload of Pakistani wheat bound for Chittagong left Port Quasim of Karachi last week.
The cost of Pakistani wheat ranges between $360 and $375 per tonne,
Despite the damage to wheat crop wrought by sever floods, Pakistan still has a large surplus for export as a bumper harvest of 23.86 million tonnes in 2009-10 added to 4.2 million tonnes carried over from the previous harvest. Pakistan, the third largest producer of wheat in Asia, has withdrawn a three-year embargo on wheat exports, eyeing fat revenues from export of its surplus stocks as global wheat prices have marked a sharp increase in recent months.
Other sources like Russia and Ukraine were blocked due to drought in Russia, Bangladeshi importers are searching for alternative sources. Even European wheat sources like Germany.
Ukraine and Russia had been the major sources of cheap wheat for Bangladeshi importers for many years.
Canada and Australia, on the other hand, are sources of finer but costlier wheat. As availability of exportable stocks in the flood-hit Australia has become uncertain and deliveries from Canada seem to be delayed due to the harsh winter, local importers are buying Pakistani stocks even at higher prices for a comparatively inferior grade of the grain.
The local flour price has posted a nearly 50 per cent rise at retail level year on year due to wheat price spiral on the international market as well as price hike of rice, the country’s staple food.
Wheat consumption in Bangladesh stands at around 5 million tonnes a year, with imports ranging from 2.5 million tonnes to 3.5 million tonnes. Cheap Black Sea (Ukrainian, Russian, etc) variety of wheat had accounted for around three- fourths of the imports in recent years.
Flour (ATTA) price is 37-38 per Kg. (packaged)