March 7, 2013 / 12:41 PM / 5 years ago

India approves extra 5 mln tonnes of wheat exports

NEW DELHI, March 7 (Reuters) - India has allowed an extra 5 million tonnes of wheat exports from government warehouses, Trade Minister Anand Sharma said on Thursday, doubling volumes to a record high, as part of efforts to avoid stocks rotting and make room for the new harvest.

The world’s second-biggest producer has massive stocks after bumper harvests and will push its shipments before June, when global prices are likely to plummet with the arrival of Black Sea wheat.

But shifting such huge volumes in India -- a third of what top exporter the United States ships in a year -- will put a big strain on rail and port capacity and hit private exports, so the government will prioritise its own shipments.

India has huge stocks of grains, which are supplied cheaply to the poor, but lacks sufficient weatherproof storage.

The wheat harvest will gather momentum in April and farmers are expected to produce 92.3 million tonnes, the sixth straight year of output surpassing domestic demand of about 76 million tonnes. (Reporting by Ratnajyoti Dutta; editing by Malini Menon)

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