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India imposes wheat stock limit to arrest price rise

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India has imposed a limit on the amount of wheat stocks traders can hold in an effort to bring down prices, food secretary Sanjeev Chopra told reporters on Monday.

The world’s second biggest wheat producer will also provide 1.5 million tonnes of wheat to bulk consumers such as flour millers, as part of efforts to bring down prices, which have risen 8% in a month, Chopra said.

“Unscrupulous elements are hoarding wheat stocks and that’s why prices are rising,” he said.

India’s wheat procurement in 2023 is set to fall by a fifth from the initial estimate as government purchases have slowed in the last few days after local prices jumped.

Despite lower-than-expected procurement, wheat stocks are sufficient and there is no need to import, Chopra said.

India, also the world’s second-biggest consumer of wheat, banned wheat exports in May 2022 after a sharp, sudden rise in temperatures clipped output, even as export demand picked up to meet the global shortfall triggered by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

India, the world’s biggest rice exporter, will also sell rice to bulk consumers, Chopra said.

(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; writing by Rajendra Jadhav; editing by Kirsten Donovan and Jason Neely)

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