India's wheat stocks up 76 pct, more pressure to boost exports

Last Updated: Wed, May 08, 2013 11:20 hrs

NEW DELHI, May 8 (Reuters) - India's May 1 wheat stocks at government warehouses surged more than 76 percent to 42.7 million tonnes from April, government sources said on Wednesday, increasing pressure on the world's No. 2 producer to boost exports and cut down huge stockpiles.

But India's latest attempt to boost wheat exports and cut its bulging stocks by offering private traders the chance to buy up to 5 million tonnes direct from warehouses is likely to be spurned by most traders as they baulk at the costs of transportation and financing.

New Delhi has also offered 4.5 million tonnes of wheat via tenders by state traders, of which about 3.6 million tonnes have been contracted for exports.

New Delhi uses the stocks to distribute cheap grain to its half a billion poor people and also holds some in inventory as a buffer for emergencies. The government is trying to expand the subsidised food progamme but its bill has yet to be approved.

India's rice inventory on May 1 was 34.7 million tonnes against 35.5 million tonnes in the previous month, the sources added.

India harvests only one wheat crop a year, with harvests from March bumping up stocks. The new season rice harvest begins in October, which are then drawn on for distribution in government welfare schemes. (Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Jo Winterbottom)

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