Indian trade curbs to cut exports by $4 billion, Red Sea attacks a risk -source

By Shivangi Acharya

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India’s exports face a shortfall of about $4 billion to $5 billion this year after it clamped curbs on trade in wheat, rice and sugar, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday, adding that Red Sea attacks may also hit basmati rice shipments.

The world’s second-largest producer of wheat, rice and sugar, India has restricted exports of these commodities to rein in rising domestic prices.

New Delhi may consider an alternate route along Africa for shipments of basmati rice if attacks by Yemen’s Houthi group persist, which could lift prices by about 15% to 20%, the source added.

The alternate route may also affect India’s exports of the long-grain rice to Egypt and Europe, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorised to speak on the matter.

However, India expects growth in exports of other farm commodities to offset the export deficit this year, said Rajesh Agarwal, an additional secretary in the trade ministry.

“If we remove agricultural commodities whose exports are controlled, like wheat and rice, exports are growing by over 4%,” Agarwal told reporters.

“So, despite the shortfall of about $4 billion to $5 billion that we face because of restrictions on sugar, wheat, rice, we should be able to meet last year’s export levels,” he said.

Data from state-run trade body APEDA showed that exports of meat and dairy, cereal preparations, and fruits and vegetables rose between April and November this year.

(Reporting by Shivangi Acharya; Writing by Shivam Patel; Editing by Toby Chopra)