KARACHI: As the crackdown on sugar hoarders and speculators has started yielding some relief, the arrival of three ships loaded with imported wheat has also brought down prices of grain as well as flour varieties.
A ship carrying 37,000 tonnes of Bulgarian wheat would start unloading the grain in a day or two while two more ships carrying 55,000 tonnes and 53,602 tonnes of Russian wheat have arrived at the outer anchorage of the port.
Cereal Association of Pakistan Chairman Muzammil Chappal said the average price of these imported wheat comes to Rs101-102 per kg which would certainly provide a relief to the hard-pressed consumers.
So far the private sector consortium has finalised a deal for the import of 700,000 tonnes of wheat and hopefully the stakeholders would further open letters of credit at a time when the dollar is losing its ground against the rupee making the landed cost of imported goods cheaper.
He said rising wheat imports would build pressure on the market mafias and also avert any stockpiling of the commodity.
Meanwhile, the retail prices of fine and flour no. 2.5 dropped by Rs10 per kg in the last week. Retailers said the reduced price of fine flour is Rs160 while flour no. 2.5 is selling at Rs150 per kg. However, no change was witnessed in chakki flour.
Pakistan Flour Mills Association (PFMA) Chairman Aamir Abdullah said the price of wheat in the open market had fallen to Rs118 from Rs120-123 per kg after the arrival of imported grain.
He said many retailers after the arrival of imported wheat were trying to clear their stocks of various flour varieties by offering price cuts to the masses.
“We have not yet reduced the price and are selling flour no.2.5 and fine flour in the range of Rs136-137 per kg,” he said, adding that he cannot predict about further drop but at least imported grain would remove uncertainty about shortage of the commodity thus ensuring stock availability in the retail markets and mills.
Sugar prices ease
Faisal Anis Majeed, a wholesaler/importer, said the ongoing crackdown has helped bring down the wholesale sugar rate to Rs145 per kg from Rs185 for bulk orders in the last 10 days.
However, prices in the retail market are not coming down on par with a drop in wholesale rates and still hover between Rs160-170 per kg after hitting a peak at Rs180-190 per kg.
Published in Dawn, September 22th, 2023