[Back]   [Comments]  [Print]

NEWS ADMIN

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

DATE

07/06/2002

NEWS PROVIDER

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

NEWS SOURCE

NULL

CATEGORY

HEADLINE

India's commodities trade barely hit by war fears
NEW DELHI, June 6 (Reuters) - India has abundant stocks of key commoditiesand fears of a war between India and Pakistan have neither triggered panicbuying nor significantly harmed trade, officials and traders said onThursday.But they said grain exports had been hampered by the military using railwagons and due to port bottlenecks, while border tension had cut smugglingof sugar from India to Pakistan.Otherwise, edible oil imports to India, the world's largest buyer of theitem, had grown in recent weeks due to seasonal factors and gold dealerssaid demand for the precious metal was down as a result of highinternational prices.India and Pakistan have massed a million troops, backed by armour andartillery, along their borders in the dispute over Kashmir. India saysPakistan must end incursions by Muslim guerrillas that have stoked a12-year rebellion in Hindu-dominated India's only Muslim-majority state."We have more than adequate supplies of wheat, rice and sugar...there isno panic buying," an Indian Food Ministry spokeswoman told Reuters.She said that as of May 1, India had 62.5 million tonnes of wheat and ricestocks, well above the 24.3 million tonnes of grains which governmentprojections said would be needed as reserves on July 1. India also hassugar stocks of nearly 10 million tonnes.Tanvir Qureshi, vice-president of a supermarket chain owned by tradinghouse Adani Exports Ltd in the border state of Gujarat, said the firm hadnot seen any panic buying."It's normal business. We have not seen any panic buying or stocking up,"she told Reuters.There was no unusual stockpiling of foodstuffs even in the border city ofJammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir state which is at thecentre of the confrontation and in range of Pakistan's guns."People have become accustomed to all these things (border firing) thatthey take everything lightly...," said local resident Gyan Chand, owner ofa public telephone call office in Jammu.

GOLD DEMAND FALLS AS WORLD PRICES SOARGold dealers said the appetite for the metal in India, the world's largestconsumer, had fallen.This drop was due to soaring global gold prices, rather than directly tofears of war, although the tension between India and Pakistan is among thefactors supporting world prices for the metal regarded as a haven forinvestors in times of trouble.Traders estimated demand for gold could slide 40-50 percent in theApril-June quarter from about 240 tonnes in the same quarter a year ago.Dinesh Soni, a bullion trader in Ahmedabad, a leading gold-importingcentre, said there was no need to hoard inventories."The media has built up a hype around the India-Pakistan standoff, and Iam not going to be fooled into stocking up things," he said.NO PANIC BUYING OF EDIBLE OILSEdible oil dealers said importers had discounted war fears and currentstocks were sufficient for three to four weeks."There is no panic buying of edible oils," said Atul Chaturvedi, seniorvice president of Adani Exports Ltd.Traders said edible oil imports were expected to rise in the summer monthsof May and June from the previous year as stocks had declined becauseimports had been lower in the past six months.Traders said wheat and rice export prospects were bullish because ofcompetitive prices and repeat orders from countries in Southeast Asia.But physical exports had slowed down over the past few days as themilitary buildup reduced the number of available rail wagons to movesupplies and port congestion delayed cargoes.Traders said war fears had cut smuggling of sugar into Pakistan fromIndia, where output costs are much lower."There is hardly any possibility of Indian sugar going into Pakistanbecause of the presence of large troops on both sides of the border," saida sugar industry official.In March last year, Pakistan banned sugar imports from India but exemptedimports contracted before the ban was imposed.

(The informations and opinions expressed in this article represent theviews of the author only. They should not be seen as necessarilyreflecting the views of Palm News)