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As Black Sea supplies fall, India sells record 1.4 mln tonnes wheat in April

By Mayank Bhardwaj and Rajendra Jadhav

NEW DELHI, May 10 (Reuters) - India exported a record 1.4 million tonnes of wheat in April, four trade sources said, providing some relief to grain markets as buyers scramble for alternatives to Black Sea supplies hit hard by the war in Ukraine.

April is the first month of the fiscal year. India, the world's second biggest wheat producer, exported a record 7 million tonnes of the grain in fiscal 2021-22.

India is the only major supplier of wheat at this time of year, and its exports of the grain have surged since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

It exported just 242,857 tonnes of wheat in April 2021.

With the new season crop gathered in April, wheat shipments could rise further this month.

"In May, shipments could rise to 1.5 million tonnes," said a New Delhi-based dealer with a global trading firm. "Wheat supplies and railway cars' availability have improved in the last few weeks and that will help ship out more wheat in May."

Buyers from Asia and the Middle East are purchasing Indian wheat, as it is cheaper than alternatives, he said.

India has exported wheat to South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa.

As supplies dropped from Ukraine and Russia, which together used to account for about 29% of global wheat exports, top wheat importer Egypt agreed for the first time to purchase the grain from India.

India also exported wheat to other new markets such as Israel, Turkey, Indonesia, Mozambique, and Tanzania, traders said.

In addition, the United Nations' World Food Programme sourced wheat from India to supply to Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti, they added.

In April, Indian traders signed wheat export deals at between $295 and $340 a tonne free on board, said Rajesh Paharia Jain, a New Delhi-based trader. (Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj and Rajendra Jadhav Editing by Mark Potter)

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