Essential commodity prices start declining, says govt

Mumbai, July 25 | Updated: Jul 26 2006, 05:30am hrs
Spot and retail prices of essential commodities such as wheat, sugar and pulses have started easing following the governments decision to facilitate imports and ban exports, an official release said on Tuesday.

Spot wheat prices fell 4.8%, while retail prices declined 9% between February 1 and July 20 after the government announced its decision to import 5,00,000 tonne of wheat on February 2, the release said. Spot prices of wheat in Delhi were at Rs 922 per 100 kilogram on February 1, which fell to Rs 881 as of July 20.

The government is importing 3.5 million tonne of duty-free wheat to ease supplies and curb surging prices. It has also slashed duty on wheat imports to 5% from 50% to facilitate imports by private players. So far, however, only 92,000 tonne of imported wheat has reached Indian shores. Further, consignments are expected from July-end and may continue till January.

Retail prices of wheat remained steady during the period, July 13 to 20 as in the previous week at certain centres like Delhi (Rs 10 per kg), Lucknow ( Rs 9.3 per kg), Mumbai and Chennai (Rs 14 per kg) and Thiruvananthapuram (Rs 16 per kg).

Wheat futures prices stood at R. 829 per quintal on July 106 and Rs 830 per quintal on July 18, but declined to Rs 817 per quintal on July 20, 2006.

Sugar prices also started declining from June 22 when the government announced allowing duty-free imports and banned exports till the end of the current financial year, the release said. Spot prices fell 1.24% during June 21 and July 20.

Retail prices declined from Rs 22 a kg in Delhi to Rs 21 during the period. Futures declined in the range of 1.24%-5.75%, except July contract which increased by 7.58%, it said.

Retail prices of sugar as on July 20 remained unchanged from that prevailed during the previous week at many centres.

These are Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram (Rs. 21 per kg), Lucknow (Rs. 22 per kg), Mumbai, (21.5 per kg) and Chennai (Rs.19.5 per kg). During the last one-week, retail prices of sugar registered a decline in prices at Shimla (2.22%), Jaipur (2.38%) and Bhopal (4.76%).

Spot price of pulses has also shown a declining trend.