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Egypt’s GASC in no rush to enter overseas markets

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Egypt, the world's largest wheat importer, said on Sunday it was in no rush to tap international grain markets due to its large stockpile of local wheat and the surge in prices following the worst U.S. Midwest drought in nearly a quarter of a century.

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July 9, 2012 12:00 by



Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, said on Sunday it was in no rush to tap international grain markets due to its large stockpile of local wheat and the surge in prices following the worst U.S. Midwest drought in nearly a quarter of a century.

Another Middle Eastern wheat importer, Jordan, also said earlier on Sunday it had postponed a tender to buy 100,000 tonnes of wheat to July 17 as it awaits more reports on the U.S. crop situation.

Egypt had previously said it would tap international wheat markets for August shipment.

“Of course entering the markets for August shipment isn’t likely now and that’s because our local purchases leave us in a very comfortable position,” Nomani Nomani, vice chairman of the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) told Reuters by telephone.

GASC said Egypt had procured 3.7 million tonnes of wheat this year, 1.1 million tonnes more than last year’s 2.6 million tonnes and 700,000 tonnes over its previously announced 3 million targets.

Nomani said the surge in local purchases was mainly attributable to the attractive prices offered to farmers and the introduction of better strains.

Egypt raised the price it pays for local wheat in October to 380 Egyptian pounds ($63.60) per ardeb (140 kg) from 350 pounds during the last season.

“We are also expecting a good corn crop this year and as we mix wheat with corn to produce subsidised bread, this should also help reduce our imports,” Nomani said.

GASC uses a mixture of 60 percent local wheat, 30 percent imported wheat and 10 percent corn to make subsidised bread.

Egypt’s target is to buy 500,000 tonnes of local corn but estimates so far show the figure could reach up to 750,000 tonnes as a result of attractive prices offered to farmers and new strains with higher yields being introduced, Nomani said.

“Of course we are not saying we are not entering the international market but what we are saying is that we are in a comfortable position,” he said.

Egypt has a mix of local and imported wheat to last until January, a little over six months.

Asian corn, wheat and soymeal buyers also stayed away from the market last week, postponing tenders as global grain and oilseed prices continued to rally with a worsening U.S. drought curbing supplies.

Although Chicago corn eased on Friday after recent steep gains, prices were set for their biggest three-week rally in three-and-a-half years due to the extreme weather.

(Reporting By Maha El Dahan; Editing by Erica Billingham)

 



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