Egypt looks to soon buy wheat outside of tenders to secure supply

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Egypt’s government plans to soon allow buying wheat outside of tenders as the biggest importer of the grain seeks more ways to secure supplies amid disruption from the war in Ukraine.

The government currently only books cargoes via tenders and typically mostly from Black Sea countries like Russia and Ukraine, where flows have been upended by the war. It now wants to let companies to also be able to submit offers directly to the Supply Ministry, said people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak to media.

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Under the changes, the cheapest offers that aren’t selected in tenders run by the General Authority for Supply Commodities would then be allowed to be submitted directly to the Supply Ministry the following day for consideration, the people said.

Egypt also plans to accept 50,000-ton cargoes for direct purchases, rather than the usual 60,000- or 55,000-ton shipments favored in tenders, the people said.

The most-populous Arab nation uses its wheat imports it as the cornerstone of a bread-subsidy program for millions of people. But the Ukraine war has sent wheat prices soaring -- putting pressure on the Egyptian government’s finances -- and made it harder to secure cargoes from the Black Sea region.

Changes to Egyptian tenders that have already taken place include the introduction of specific origins.

On Monday, GASC announced a tender for Wednesday seeking wheat of European origin only.

Read more: Egypt’s foreign reserves drop to $37 bln with Ukraine war shock

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