In Brief

Written by fe Bureau | Updated: Jan 30 2010, 03:38am hrs
Southern states lift 74 % of rice & wheat quota

Southern states have lifted 74% of 4.63 lakh tonne of rice and wheat allocated to them for sale in retail markets during October-January 2009-10, a senior government official has said. Lifting of foodgrains is good in southern states. They have lifted 3.44 lakh tonne (LT) of rice and wheat, against the total allocation of 4,63,927 LT, the official said. The rice offtake was almost 3 LT against the allocation of 3.64 LT, while that of wheat stood at 44,792 tonne against the allocation of one lakh tonne for the October-December quarter of 2009-10.

As other states have not lifted much, the allocation for that quarter was allowed to be availed by January-end. Among southern states, Tamil Nadu lifted 1.26 LT of rice, while Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka lifted 1.36 LT and 33,181 tonne of the grain, respectively.

Gold futures lower on weak global cues

Gold futures prices declined by Rs 74 to Rs 16,510 per ten gram on Thursday as speculators reduced their positions on the back of weakening global trend. At the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), gold for June contract fell by Rs 74, or 0.45 %, to Rs 16,510 per ten gram with an open interest of 224 lots. The metal for delivery in February also eased by Rs 51, or 0.31%, to Rs 16,390 per ten gram in 10,757 lots. Marketmen attributed the fall in gold futures prices to offloading of position by traders on the back of weakening global trend. They said weak signals from domestic spot markets due to break in marriage season also influenced the sentiment. Meanwhile, gold lost $9.60 at $1,087.20 an ounce in New York on Wednesday evening.

Wheat rates fall 1.29%

Wholesale prices of wheat slid by Rs 25, or 1.29 %, per quintal in the national capital on Thursday as traders indulged in reducing positions after the government took steps to check rising prices. Elsewhere, other commodities continued to trade in a narrow range on alternate bouts of trading and settled around previous levels. Sentiments in wheat remained bearish after a slew of measures, such as releasing grain in the open market, by the government and hopes of higher output due to favourable weather. Wheat (deshi) remained under pressure and lost another Rs 25, or 1.29 %, to Rs 1,900-2,150, while Wheat dara (for mills) held steady at Rs 1,345-1,350 per quintal. Atta chakki delivery shed Rs 5 at Rs 1,355-1,360 per 90 kg and flour mills lost Rs 10 at Rs 740-760 per 50 kg. Maida and sooji also traded lower by Rs 20 each to Rs 840-870 and Rs 880-900 per 50 kg, respectively.

Lax GM crops testing rules

The current testing norms to rule out harmful effects of genetically modified crops like Bt-brinjal are far from being fool proof, a member of biotech regulator Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has said.The current safety testing norms suggested for Bt-brinjal are insufficient and unscientific. These rules need to be strengthened, Pushpa Bhargava, the scientist who is also the Supreme Court appointee in the GEAC said at a panel discussion on Bt-brinjal. Last year, the regulator approved Bt-brinjal, a genetically modified variant of brinjal, for commercial cultivation without following the requisite tests, he said. Genetic component of Bt-brinjals are modified by inserting it with a gene to make the plant pest resistant.

Sugar output below 15 mt

India s sugar output is expected to be less than 15 million tonne in the current season to September; about 1 million tonne lower than trade and government forecasts, the chief executive of a leading producer said.

I expect production to be roughly around the same as last year. It will be below 15 million tonne as sugar recovery is awful, Sunil Kakria, managing director of Mawana Sugar, said. Trade and government officials have said 2009-10 sugar output in India , the worlds top consumer and the biggest producer behind Brazil , would be about 16 million tonne against 14.7 million tonne a year ago. Kakria said Indian mills need to order an additional 3-4 million tonne, mostly whites, in the current year.I do not see imports of raw sugar crossing 0.5-1.0 million tonne. India will have to import white sugar, which will be in short supply, he said.