KARACHI: Pakistan missed the export target of two million tonnes for wheat and wheat products despite achieving record exports in the country’s history in FY18.

Around 21 per cent rupee devaluation against the dollar since December 2017 to date, coupled with world’s prices and attractive subsidy, boosted wheat exports to a new peak of 1.189m tonnes fetching $236m in FY18, versus 3,937 tonnes earning just $1m in FY17.

The average per tonne price stood at $198 in 2017-18 against $263 per tonne earned in the same period of FY17, stated figures released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

The government in December 2017 had allowed exports of 2m tonnes of wheat and wheat products before June 30 to clear carry-over stocks as new crop finds way into the market. It has also been providing an export subsidy of $120 per tonne by land and $169 per tonne for sea routes. Out of the 2m tonnes, exports from Punjab were planned at 1.5m tonnes with the remaining 500,000 tonnes from Sindh.

Market players were quite optimistic of achieving wheat target of 1.4 million tonnes by sea route but exports in June fell to 69,299 tonnes from 326,133 tonnes in May.

All Pakistan Flour Mills Association Central Chairman Chaudhry Ansar Jawed said export of wheat products remained disappointing despite the subsidy and rupee devaluation as Afghanistan’s market was captured by cheap wheat products from Central Asian States.

He said the government should consider suspending further exports from surplus stocks of last year in view of the water shortage which may hamper wheat production.

Sugar exports surge

Sugar exports hit record 1.469m tonnes earning $508m in FY18, as compared to 307,348 tonnes fetching $161m in FY17.

The average per tonne price of sugar stood at $345.8 in FY18 as against $523 per tonne in FY17.

Sugar production in the last season was 7.5m tonnes – well above the requirement of 5-6m tonnes, leaving extra stocks of 1.5m tonnes.

The government allowed sugar exports at a subsidy of Rs20 per kg, with Rs10.70 per kg federal share and Rs9.30 per kg by the Sindh government.

According to the figures of Large Scale Manufacturing, Pakistan’s sugar production fell by 7pc in July-May 2017-18 to 6.55m tonnes from 7.044m tonnes in the same period of 2016-17. In the last one year, sugar’s retail price hovered between Rs50-55 per kg.

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2018

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