Egyptian minister: Russia mulls Egyptian requests on wheat deals

08:29, August 10, 2010      

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Russia is studying the Egyptian requests to reschedule delivery of 540,000 tonnes of wheat Egypt purchased before Russia said it was temporarily banning grain export, Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Rashid Mohamed Rashid said Monday.

Rashid received a phone call from the Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, who confirmed that the Russian government is keen on the strategic relations between the two countries and the Russian side is mulling rescheduling of the wheat delivery to Egypt.

"By the first of October Russia will review the harvest situation as the image would be clearer then," Zubkov said.

Zubkov supported the idea of forming a technical Egyptian- Russian committee to follow up the plan of rescheduling.

Egypt understands the environmental circumstances that Russia goes through and its negative impacts on wheat production, Rashid said.

On Sunday, Rashid met with the Russian charge d'affaires in Cairo and handed him a message to the Russian minister of trade on amending the contracts signed by Egypt's General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) and Russian companies ahead of the exportation ban.

GASC has signed contracts for the purchase of 540,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia for delivery between Aug. 1 and Sept. 10.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced Thursday that his country would impose a temporary ban on grain exports due to hot weather and drought, driving the benchmark wheat futures to a 23-month high in global markets.

Egypt is the world's largest wheat importer. Egypt's General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) currently purchases an average of 8 million tons of wheat annually for the production of subsidized bread.

An average of 2 to 3 million tons are purchased from domestic market while 5 to 6 million are imported from abroad, a statement by the Ministry of Trade and Industry said.

In the fiscal year 2009-2010, which ended in June, Russia was the biggest wheat exporter to Egypt with a 59 percent share of the latter's imports. France ranked the second with 27 percent and the United States the third with 7 percent. The rest are purchased from other trade partners.



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