India to Halt All Exports of Wheat
Days after stating that it was anticipating record shipments this year, India, the world’s second-biggest wheat supplier, announced it was banning all exports of wheat. The decision was made as an intense heat wave cut into production and domestic prices hit record highs.
The government will allow shipments that are backed by already-issued letters of credit and to countries that require supplies “to meet their food security needs”. This may be a key point, as this ban will likely affect poor consumers in Asia and Africa the hardest.
Officials stated that the move is not in perpetuity, and may be reversed when conditions shift, adding that wheat trade should not occur in an unregulated manner, or in a way that prompts hoarding.
Rising food and energy prices have sparked annual retail inflation levels in India to an eight-year high, with wheat prices hitting US$320 per ton in some places - far exceeding the government’s minimum support price.