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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Egypt considering rejecting 63k tonne shipment of Romanian wheat

This is not ergot-related: Egypt is considering rejecting a 63k tonne shipment of Romanian wheat in the port of Safaga, sources told Reuters. The Agriculture quarantine authority found the shipment to contain poppy seeds and has rejected it, the Agriculture Ministry spokesperson told the newswire. A final decision will be made by the prosecutor’s office, to which the case has been transferred. “Some types of poppy seeds cannot be sieved so it would have to be rejected,” a source explained. “If re-exported, the cargo would be the first GASC wheat purchase to be turned away from an Egyptian port since a French wheat cargo was rejected for containing the common grain fungus ergot in 2015.” One trader says rejecting the shipment is “going to make a big problem for GASC in the upcoming tenders, especially if it will be totally rejected.” A more cynical trader says the crackdown is an attempt by the quarantine authority to show that “inspection companies can make mistakes … A case like this could make them (the government) revise the whole idea of using inspection companies at the ports.” Egypt has been using private companies to inspect shipments abroad.

…Stakhanovite moment? The problems with the Romanian shipment come at a time when wheat is increasingly becoming a buyers’ market. Russian farmers are poised to beat the record for grain production set during the Soviet era, Bloomberg reports. The harvest will total at least 130.7 mn tonnes this year on bumper wheat and corn crops — 2.6% above 1978’s all-time high, Director General of ProZerno Vladimir Petrichenko said. ProZerno expects Russian wheat output to reach 80 mn tonnes this year, maybe even 85 mn tonnes, Petrichenko says. The international wheat market has already turned bearish “as the prospect of another season of ample supply has sent prices plunging.”

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