With 4.25 lakh tonnes (lt) of wheat sold in Wednesday’s auction by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the Indian government has so far sold 75.26 lt since it started selling wheat to augment open market availability from June 28.

Of the 4.5 lt offered in the weekly auction held on January 31, as much as 4.25 lt were sold, Food Ministry sources said. The government has not increased the offer quantity during the current auction which sources said was mainly due to last minute re-think on the basis of current weather’s impact on the wheat crop. However, it may be reviewed soon and in case a need is felt, the quantity will be raised, ministry sources said.

Average price

The average selling price of wheat was ₹2,255.35/quintal in FCI’s weekly e-auction on Wednesdayagainst ₹2,250.55 in the previous week. It was ₹2,172.94/quintal on December 13.

The government has kept the reserve price of wheat in the auction at about ₹2,129/quintal, which is much below the economic cost of the grain — now at ₹2,703.

In the current round, the average selling price in the eastern region at ₹2,306/quintal was more than the minimum support price of ₹2,275 (for next season), whereas in other regions prices were between ₹2,158 and ₹2,260. Traders said as MSP is known the market rates tend to move towards that benchmark rates when crop is about to be harvested in less than two months.

Highest bid

Both in Bihar and West Bengal, the highest bidding price was ₹2,550/quintal, in Uttar Pradesh it was ₹2,560, in Maharashtra ₹2,495, in Madhya Pradesh ₹2,480, in Gujarat ₹2,600 and in Karnataka ₹2,750/quintal.

“In order to increase the availability of wheat and rice in the open market and to control the prices of wheat and rice, the Government of India has been offloading wheat and rice in the market through weekly e-auction from June 28, 2023. A total of 101.5 lt of wheat and 25 lt of rice has been allocated for offloading under Open Market Sale Scheme,” the ministry said.