The Ministry of Supply said it purchased 60,000 tonnes of wheat from Romania, following a tender that was announced on Thursday.
Deputy Head of the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) Mamdouh Abdel Fattah said, in a Friday press release, that the price of wheat stands at $186.55 per tonne, in addition to $4.33 in shipping fees per tonne, rounding off the total price to $190.88 per tonne.
The GASC announced two tenders for the procurement of wheat shipments in the past week. The first was announced on Thursday and was to expire on Friday, while the second was announced on Friday and was to expire on Saturday but the deadline was extended to Sunday.
Despite the GASC’s request that suppliers extend the validity of their offers until Sunday in an attempt to attract more offers, the authority only received five offers on Friday and four on Saturday. Over the past 10 days, the GASC has cancelled two tenders to import wheat.
International traders and suppliers have been hesitant to take part in wheat import tenders, with uncertainty fuelled by Egypt’s new import regulations prohibiting the presence of ergot fungus.
Government agencies have failed to reassure suppliers. The Ministry of Supply and the GASC said last week they will accept wheat that contains a 0.05% quantity of ergot fungus, while, conversely, the Ministry of Agriculture said such wheat will be declined entry.
In December, authorities rejected entry of a French wheat shipment that allegedly did not meet import rules and benchmarks for ergot fungus.
However, the French grain trader, Bunge, challenged the decision, saying, in a press release last week, that the GASC representative had inspected and approved the shipment before it left French ports.
Yet, Abdel Fattah told Reuters on Friday that the GASC is considering a proposal from Bunge to send a replacement shipment of French wheat.
The Ministry of Supply has not released exact figures on Egypt’s strategic wheat reserves; however, Minister of Supply Khaled Hanafy said Egypt has enough wheat to last until mid-May.
Egypt is the world’s top importer of wheat, with some 10m tonnes of imports each year. Along with the domestic production of wheat, this amount is used to provide subsidised bread to the country’s population of over 90 million people.