Source says traders import 100,000 tn maize from Myanmar at zero duty

Wednesday, Feb 19, 2020


By Sampad Nady 


NEW DELHI – Traders have imported about 100,000 tn of maize from Myanmar in January and February, when prices of the coarse grain in domestic spot markets rose sharply, trade sources said.  


Maize imported from Myanmar is duty-free as India allows import of some commodities from 'least developed countries' at zero duty, irrespective of the curbs placed on imports. Myanmar has been categorised as a 'least developed country' by the United Nations since 1987.


Indian buyers had signed deals to import around 150,000 tn of maize from the neighbouring country over the past few weeks and 100,000 tn maize has been imported so far, the sources said.


The maize from Myanmar was bought at prices ranging between $260 and $275 a tn, depending on the port of delivery, one of the sources said.


Domestic bulk buyers had turned to Myanmar to import maize due to tepid supply in spot markets and rising prices of the coarse grain, sources said. 


According to trade sources, deals for around 50,000 tn of maize have been cancelled since prices at spot markets have softened.

Also, more deals may not be signed, as rabi maize output in India is seen largely unchanged at 8.2 mln tn in 2019-20 (Jul-Jun). Prices of the coarse grain have been on the decline as the late grown kharif crop has hit markets of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, traders said. 


In the key spot market of Nizamabad, maize is currently being sold at 1,750-1,800 rupees per 100 kg, down from 2,000-2,100 rupees in early January.   


Bulk buyers such as poultry firms, feed manufacturers and starch makers have been desperately looking for import of maize, as the domestic crop were seen smaller for three successive seasons, and the next crop would be available only by late April.


India levies 60% duty on import, and allows import of only non-genetically modified maize, which is available in only a handful of countries.


Earlier this year, the government had allowed import of 500,000 tn non-genetically modified maize at a reduced import duty of 15% under the tariff rate quote and imports were routed through state-trading agencies. However, a significant quantum of maize has not been imported since domestic buyers found the shipped commodity expensive and as the kharif crop is seen bigger.   


While the government has pegged kharif maize output this year at 19.9 mln tn, nearly 3% higher from the previous year, most industry participants see production at around 16 mln tn. 


End users are hoping that imports will ease the supply crunch in the coming days and cool prices further, a trade source said.  End


US$1 = 71.55 rupees


Edited by Avishek Dutta


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