Two Indian government officials said the Indian government may sell 2.1 million tons of wheat on the open market in order to reduce food inflation, with a final decision to be made in mid-January.
The government is organizing the intervention through its open market sale program, which it employs to sell grains at a fixed price. One of the two officials said the government will make a decision on the planned intervention in around mid-January, Money Control reported.
After deciding to end the free food grain distribution program that had been in place for 28 months, the government now has about 2.1 million tons of surplus wheat above the required buffer, the second government official said. The official said that until April, the government will have 3 million tons of extra wheat available for intervention, which would be sufficient to control prices. A spokesperson for India’s food ministry was unavailable for comment.
Wheat is still close to its record high prices in India, the fact that the country’s November retail inflation reading came in below the upper end of the central bank’s target band for the first time last year due to a softer rise in food prices.
As the third largest economy in Asia, food prices are crucial to regulating retail inflation because they make up nearly 40% of the consumer price inflation basket. Food price inflation decreased from 7.01% in October to 4.67% in November. In order to control prices, India banned wheat exports since May 2022.