(Adds detail, prices, destinations)
HAMBURG, Feb 1 (Reuters) - About 300,000 tonnes of wheat from Pakistan was sold to overseas buyers in January after the country started a new state export incentive programme, European traders said on Thursday.
That is up from the approximate 200,000 tonnes estimated by traders on Wednesday.
An additional 250,000 tonnes of Pakistani wheat is expected to be sold to exporters in coming days, they added.
Pakistan has been hardly visible in wheat export markets in past years, with its main sales going to Afghanistan. But a bumper crop last year and large stocks led the Pakistani government to introduce a new export subsidy scheme in January which has sparked a series of large export sales in past weeks.
A Pakistani cabinet committee in December approved a programme to export 2 million tonnes of wheat in the current financial year, with 1.5 million tonnes coming from the state of Punjab and 500,000 tonnes from the state of Sindh, Pakistan’s Ministry of Information said.
“Up to the end of January contracts were concluded for over 300,000 tonnes of wheat from Sindh and more are being concluded,” one trader said. It is expected that by next week a total of 550,000 tonnes of wheat from Pakistan will have been bought by exporters.”
A large part of the sales were agreed for bulk shipments from Pakistani ports starting in February, but about 30,000 tonnes has also been sold for shipment in containers, traders said.
Wheat in bulk shipments was said to have been purchased at around $188 to $193 a tonne FOB (free on board) Pakistani ports, traders said.
The wheat for shipment in containers was sold at about $195 to $198 a tonne FOB.
Shipments are expected to be made to regions including East Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and importers in the Middle East Gulf and Red Sea, traders said. Shipments are expected to start in the coming days.
”There is good demand for Pakistani wheat with 11.5 to 12 percent protein content which is replacing some Russian and Ukrainian supplies in these markets,” a trader said.
Details of the new export incentive scheme are still being finalised in Punjab province, traders said. This is expected in the coming days, which would enable the additional tonnage to be offered on export markets. (Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Mark Potter)