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India to allow wheat shipments awaiting customs clearance

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India will allow overseas wheat shipments awaiting customs clearance, the government said on Tuesday, introducing some relaxation in exports after it banned overseas sales of the staple on Saturday. India will also allow wheat exports to Egypt, the government said in a statement. "It has been decided that wherever wheat consignments have been handed over to Customs for examination and have been registered into their (Customs) systems", either on May 13, 2022, or earlier, would be allowed to be shipped out, the government said. India banned wheat exports on Saturday, just days after saying it was targeting record shipments of 10 million tonnes this year, as a scorching heat wave curtailed output and domestic prices hit a record high. The government said it would only allow exports backed by letters of credit (LCs), or payment guarantees, issued before May 13. The provision has created uncertainty. Of the approximately 2.2 million tonnes of wheat at ports or in transit, traders said they have LCs for only 400,000 tonnes. The decision to ban wheat exports also trapped some 1.8 million tonnes of grain at ports, leaving traders facing heavy losses from the prospect of selling onto a weaker domestic market.