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Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Wheat tender will go on despite reduced Romanian crop

Good news on the food security front: Romania is still interested in selling wheat to Egypt: A prolonged drought is expected to send Romanian wheat production plunging this season, but farmers and experts tell Reuters that the country should still be able to run enough of a surplus to participate in Egypt’s wheat tenders. Output in the Black Sea country could fall as much as 50% to between 5 and 7.4 mn tonnes, a year after it harvested a record crop of around 10 mn tonnes. Sebastian Devos, founder of Romanian brokerage Koepta, estimated that Romania will be able to export around 3.5 mn tonnes of wheat this year depending on market factors.

It was only a month ago that Romania decided to ban wheat exports to support its domestic food supply, only to end it a week later under pressure from the European Commission and local farmers.

Egypt is already stocking up on wheat from domestic growers and could look to other suppliers if there’s a shortfall in Romania. State grain buyer GASC (the world’s largest wheat buyer) has only imported 240k tons of wheat since April and participation in its most recent tender attracted just five bids — the fewest in more than a year — as major producers resort to food nationalism and place restrictions on exports. Egypt has pinned hopes of reaching the country’s 800k ton import target on the Northern Hemisphere’s harvest season. As of last week, the government had already purchased 2.1 mn tonnes from local farmers, 30% more than it bought in April last year.

Opportunity for North American traders? Egypt has recently passed on US wheat on concerns about high shipping costs and Canadian wheat has not been a significant component of GASC’s wheat diet since a fuss in 2016 over fungus.

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