* U.S. wheat jumps 5 pct this week, Australia prices firm
* Asian buyers eye U.S. wheat as Canadian cargoes delayed
* Indian wheat one of the cheapest origins now - trader
By Naveen Thukral
SINGAPORE, Feb 7 Indian wheat could find buyers
in Asia as a 5 percent jump in global prices this week has made
shipments from the South Asian country competitive.
Asian flour mills are bracing for a delay in cargoes of
top-quality spring wheat from Canada which could shift some of
the demand to the United States, traders said.
"There haven't been many trades done for Indian wheat in
Southeast Asia as the demand is very slow due to the holiday
season," said a Singapore-based trader, referring to the Lunar
New Year break.
"But mills have started checking prices of Indian wheat as
it is one of the cheapest origins now."
Indian wheat is quoted at $280-285, including cost and
freight (C&F), to Southeast Asia, compared with similar quality
of U.S. wheat being offered around $310 a tonne and Australian
standard wheat close to $300 a tonne.
U.S. wheat, which has gained almost 5 percent this
week, is heading for its biggest weekly gain in more than four
months as concerns over crop damage from cold temperatures
across the U.S. Midwest underpin prices.
Indian wheat prices have eased $10-$15 a tonne in the last
few weeks as expectations of a record-large crop weighed on the
The country is likely to soon permit more wheat exports as
the world's second-biggest producer looks set to harvest a
record crop of around 100 million tonnes this year, swelling
stockpiles in an oversupplied world market.
A flour mill in Oman has purchased about 20,000 tonnes of
Indian-origin wheat in a tender which closed on Tuesday.
Indian state trading company STC has issued two
international tenders to sell and export a total of 200,000
tonnes of milling wheat. The deadline for both tenders is Feb.
Asian wheat buyers are likely to suffer delays in supply of
wheat from Canada which is facing logistical problems.
Many wheat importers in Asia, including Japan, Indonesia,
Bangladesh and Malaysia, have booked cargoes of high-protein
spring wheat from Canada for shipment in the months ahead.
"The only origin which can replace Canadian spring wheat is
the United States," said a second Singapore-based trader.
"Australia is not offering much of hard wheat."
Canada's record canola and wheat harvests have clogged its
rail arteries and overwhelmed its ports, sticking Glencore and
other grain handlers with millions of dollars in shipping
penalties and leaving farmers' bins flush with crops worth less
by the day.
U.S. hard red winter wheat was quoted at $340 C&F, up around
$5 from last week, while spring wheat with 14 percent protein is
being offered at $365 a tonne. Australian standard wheat is
being priced at $300 a tonne in Southeast Asia and prime wheat
at $ 305 a tonne.
(Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)