CAIRO, EGYPT — Due to global supply concerns, Egypt, perennially among the world’s largest wheat importers, will allow wheat shipments with a moisture level of up to 14% for a year, up from 13.5%, Reuters reported, citing a trade ministry document.
Egypt usually sources most of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, where conflict has disrupted its purchases of relatively cheaper Black Sea wheat and inflated global prices. The North African country received 82% of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia in 2020, and a March US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report estimated Egypt would import a total of 12 million tonnes of the staple food crop in 2021-22.
The Egyptian government has been diversifying its sources of wheat, recently adding India as an accepted wheat import origin. Increasing the accepted moisture level could potentially encourage more offers in its state grains buyer’s tenders, traders said.
Traders noted European Union wheat, particularly Poland and the Baltic Region, have 14% moisture level in their contracts, and that is why they usually are not offered in tenders. In Egypt’s last wheat purchasing tender in April, German wheat was offered cheapest on a free-on-board basis but was not purchased due to its moisture level.
Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), typically purchases wheat through international tenders, but the country’s supply minister recently said the cabinet had approved direct purchases from countries or companies.
Egypt was in talks with Australia, Kazakhstan and France for such deals, he said, adding that Cairo had agreed to buy 500,000 tonnes of wheat from India.