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Egypt earmarks $1.3b for wheat imports
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 17 - 08 - 2010

CAIRO--Egypt's main wheat buyer has said it wants to buy 55,000 to 60,000 tonnes of wheat on a free-on-board basis (FOB) from the US, Canada, Germany and Australia. The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) said grain shipments should be delivered from September 16 to September 30.
Meanwhile, the country's Minister of Agriculture Amin Abaza said yesterday that farmers would be provided with fertilisers, seeds and pesticides at "affordable prices" to encourage growing wheat nationwide.
"Farmers harvested 2.3 million tonnes of wheat this season. The Government paid farmers LE100 more than world prices to buy wheat at LE280 per ardeb (150kg)," Abaza said.
Egypt has earmarked LE7.6 billion ($1.3 billion) to import 5.8 million tonnes of wheat in the fiscal year (FY) 2010/2011, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
In a related event, ports in the city of Novorossiysk, Russia's main gateway for grain exports, boosted outbound shipments 37 per cent in the first two weeks of August ahead of a government ban, which began on Sunday, SovEcon said.
The ports on the Black Sea shipped 558,000 tonnes of grain in the period, including 510,000 tonnes of wheat, the Moscow-based researcher said. The "overwhelming" amount was bound for Egypt, the world's biggest wheat buyer, Bloomberg reported yesterday.
About a third of the grain was supplied by United Grain Co, Russia's state trader, while Glencore International AG's Russian unit, International Grain Co, was the second- biggest shipper in the period, SovEcon said.
Russia's severe drought may cut its grain output by 40 per cent this year, a leading analyst said on Monday, as Russia's weather service forecast short-lived rains in some areas which could help planting for next year.
Leading Russian agricultural analyst SovEcon said it cut its 2010 grain crop forecast to 59.5-63.5 million tonnes from a previous forecast of 70-75 million tonnes, a day after Russia's first grain export ban for 11 years kicked in, according to Reuters.
Coming after last year's bumper 97 million tonne crop Russia's worst drought in over a century has destroyed crops over large areas, sparking wildfires which have shrouded Moscow in eyestinging smog for days, and forcing up world grain prices.
SovEcon estimated the area on which grains have been lost at 7.6 million hectares by August 1, potentially leaving the harvesting area at around 36 million hectares, a blow to Russia which is one of the world's biggest grain exporters.
This may result in a 34-35 per cent decline in total grain production to 63-64 million tonnes. But it may fall further to below 60 million tonnes under a more pessimistic scenario as the losses may prove to be bigger and yields lower.
SovEcon has already revised down its forecast for Russia's 2010 wheat crop by 4 million tonnes to 43-44 million
But Russia's second most important export cereal barley appears to be hit worse and its output is expected to be 8.7-9.3 million tonnes, the lowest in the last 40 years.

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