DHAKA Feb 10 Bangladesh's state grains buyer
expects to import a total of around 250,000 tonnes wheat in the
2016/17 financial year ending June, about half the quantity it
expected to import earlier.
It has already agreed to ship in 200,000 tonnes in its first
government-to-government deal with Russia, with the first cargo
of 55,000 tonnes arriving next week, the agency's head said on
Bangladesh, South Asia's top wheat buyer, has turned to the
Black Sea region for wheat as supply from India dwindled.
The grains agency is also looking to take delivery of
another 50,000 tonnes that was bought in an earlier tender.
"After this ... we don't need to procure more wheat from
international markets," Badrul Hasan, the head of the state
grains agency told Reuters, adding that this was due to stable
No tender for wheat purchases will be floated over the next
few months, he said.
Typically, the government imports more wheat to replenish
stockpiles, as it increases market supply whenever prices go up.
Such procurement is crucial for the South Asian nation to
feed its poor and keep domestic prices stable.
Bangladesh's rice and wheat reserves have fallen to nearly
900,000 tonnes as of end-January, from 1.5 million tonnes during
the same period a year ago, due to less imports.
The government is also handing out cash instead of wheat or
rice to the poor as part of some welfare schemes, Hasan said,
implying lower imports of the grains.
U.S. wheat prices on Friday lingered near a seven-month peak
touched the session before, remaining on track for a weekly gain
of around 3 percent on expectations of strong U.S. exports.
Apart from government purchases, private traders import
around 4.5 million tonnes of wheat annually to meet growing
demand, while the country's output has stagnated at about 1
Rice is the main staple for Bangladesh's 160 million people,
but wheat consumption is also rising because of lifestyle
A spike in rice prices in the domestic market caused
Bangladesh's annual inflation rate to pick up again in January
after a brief fall in the previous two months.
(Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)