By Katharine Houreld
ISLAMABAD Jan 6 (Reuters) - Pakistani grain exporter
Seatrade Group said it will start shipping 100,000 tons of wheat
to Iran by the end of January or early February, one-tenth of
the original tender agreed in August.
Iranian wheat imports are usually handled by the private
sector but the Iranian government had to step in and help with
purchasing this year because of the disruption to trade
financing caused by Western sanctions aimed at Iran's disputed
The grain is to come from Pakistani government stocks held
by the government-run Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services
"It seems the (Iranian) government doesn't have the money"
for the million ton shipment, a director at the leading
Pakistani grain exporter Seatrade Group.
"The tender was initially for 1 million tons but the
contract is only for 100,000. They (PASSCO) said only 100,000
had been approved because of the financing factor."
"We were supposed to give wheat and take iron ore for
Pakistan's steel mills and fertilizer in return," he said.
"The other 900,000 tons is still under discussion and might
be done on the private market."
The director said Pakistani millers had also been worried
that the price of flour will go up, a politically sensitive
issue in the country where 90 percent of its population consume
it. Prices have increased twice in the past two weeks.
"The flour mills are worried that export at lower prices
will result in them not getting sufficient wheat in January to
March," Muhammad Najib Balagamwalla, the Seatrade Group
chairman, said in an email.
The wheat was being sold to Iran at US$300 per tonne FOB, a
low price, Balagamwalla noted. Wheat was being sold by private
exporters to Sri Lanka and other areas at US$330 per tonne FOB.
(Reporting By Katharine Houreld; Editing by Mike Nesbit)