Bangladesh to import 200,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia
Bangladesh will import 200,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia in a government-to-government deal, the head of the state grains buyer said on Tuesday, as South Asia's top wheat buyer builds its reserves.
Earlier this year, Bangladesh rejected three cargoes of Russian wheat, totalling 150,000 tonnes, over quality concerns.
"We will sign the deal with Russia's state agency soon," Badrul Hasan, the head of the Directorate General of Food, Bangladesh's procurement agency, told Reuters.
Bangladesh will buy the cargo at $245 a tonne, including shipping and insurance, he said. That compares with the current market price of around $216 for US milling wheat, including freight.
But the price is slightly lower than the lowest offer of $248.26 a tonne that the state grains buyer received at last week's tender to buy 50,000 tonnes of wheat which it later scrapped.
"I don't see any problem with wheat imports given that global prices of the grain are still low," Hasan said, adding that the government has around 800,000 tonnes of rice and wheat in its reserves.
The state grains buyer plans to ship in 500,000 tonnes of wheat for the current financial year that began in July.
Bangladesh has turned to the Black Sea region for wheat as supply from India dwindled.
Last year, Bangladesh rejected three shipments involving a total 125,000 tonnes of French wheat after the grain failed to match tender specifications. The rejections came after the state buyer faced severe criticism for importing 200,000 tonnes of wheat from Brazil, that were later found to have poor quality.
Apart from government purchases, private traders import about four million tonnes of wheat annually to meet growing demand while the country's domestic output has stagnated at about one million tonnes.
Rice is the main staple for Bangladesh's 160 million people, but wheat consumption is also rising because of lifestyle changes.