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Monday, 4 June 2018

Stalled Russian wheat shipment allowed to enter the country after test results indicate safe ergot levels

Egyptian quarantine officials agreed yesterday to allow a shipment of Russian wheat to enter the country after first refusing it on the grounds that it had a level of ergot contamination that exceeded legal limits, unnamed port officials tell Reuters. Samples from the stalled grain shipment were reexamined in a Cairo lab and “results indicated ergot levels below the 0.05% threshold.” Authorities had said last week that the 63,000 tonne contained 0.06% ergot. The seller, however, argued that their cargo was up to spec. Russia’s main agricultural agency, Rosselkhoznadzor, also said as much, sending a delegation to Cairo on Saturday to look into the case.

Why traders are watching this case: The Russian shipment was stopped just days after the Higher Administrative Court effectively put to rest talk of a zero-tolerance policy for ergot, which had been a major hurdle for wheat imports in 2016-17. Three other wheat shipments were halted recently amid payment disputes with Dubai-based trader AOS. Mismanagement of wheat policies and delivery disruptions could cost the state an additional EGP 1.4 bn this year.

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