Flour prices in the UAE have increased after India banned wheat exports on May 14 due to a jump in domestic prices after curtailed output amidst a scorching heat wave in the South Asian country.
Local industry players said prices increased around 10-15 per cent this year due to the war in Ukraine and Russia, countries that are two of the world’s leading suppliers of wheat.
Dr Dhananjay Datar, chairman and managing director of Al Adil Trading, said Ukraine and Russia were major exporters of wheat, but they are unable to export it due to the war.
“The Indian government realised that there is a lot of demand and there might be a shortage of wheat in the country; as a result, prices can also go up. So, they put a ban on exports,” he said.
He said India is expected to provide wheat to UAE and Saudi Arabia despite the ban, but they’ve not cleared it yet.
“I was aware three to fourth months back that there could be a ban on wheat so we ensured that we have sufficient stock of wheat for the next eight to nine months,” he added.
Piyush Goyal, India’s commerce and industry minister, said during the World Economic Forum that New Delhi has left the window open for countries on a government-to-government basis to take wheat from India.
“We do not want surplus wheat, if any, to go into the hands of speculators or hoarders who will manipulate prices. So, we have regulated it,” he said.
The UAE has been the third largest export market of India for wheat with 330,707.74 metric tonnes of wheat imported in 2020-21.
Dr Datar added that Australia could be the next major alternative market to import wheat to the UAE.
He said Pakistan can also be an alternative country to import wheat but the crop has not been sufficient and the South Asian country also has low stocks. “So, I believe Australia is the only option now.”
He further added that due to the Ukraine-Russia war, the price of wheat has gone up by almost 10-15 per cent in the UAE so far this year.
Gulraiz Yaseen, managing director of Pakistan Supermarkets Group, said the price of a 50kg wheat bag costs around Dh90 to Dh100 recently. “Then the price increased to Dh110 and later it went up to Dh130. There’s so much uncertainty in the market that the supplier says rates will increase and then the next day says that prices may drop. The prices dropped to Dh114 and now there is a talk of a price increase again,” Yaseen said.
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