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Sunday, 22 May 2022

Poland offers to transport our Ukrainian wheat shipments via rail

Ukraine has offered to send Egypt wheat cargoes through Poland via rail, state news agency MENA quoted Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy as saying on Thursday. Some 300k tons of wheat booked for February and March delivery for Egypt are currently stranded in Ukrainian ports due to Russia’s blockade of shipments from the country. One cargo is still stuck in port while four others are yet to be loaded.

We’re expecting a visit from Polish President Andrzej Duda next month to coordinate wheat shipments from Ukraine: The Polish president is expected to coordinate ways to ship Ukrainian wheat to Egypt amid the war, including potentially through Polish seaports, Duda said earlier this month. Both Poland and Lithuania have reportedly been in talks with Ukraine about exporting its summer grain harvest through their ports. The same offer could also be made for exports of sunflower oil, Duda said at the time.

GASC isn’t letting contractors off the hook: State grain buyer GASC has granted an extension to secure the Ukrainian shipments, which were purchased before Russia invaded Ukraine and blockaded its ports. However, GASC is not planning to release traders from fulfilling the shipments due to force majeure (unforeseeable circumstances) — and may require that traders source the four unloaded cargoes from other countries if they can’t be moved out of Ukraine.

Will we put our wheat concerns to Russia? Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry agreed with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba to “coordinate efforts to make Russia unblock Ukraine’s food exports,” Keleba wrote in a tweet after the two top diplomats shared a phone call last week. He also thanked Egypt for turning away a Russian ship that was loaded with allegedly stolen Ukrainian wheat after it failed to present the proper paperwork.

REMEMBER- Both Ukraine and Russia are good friends of Egypt, and both are key suppliers of wheat, together accounting for more than 80% of our imports of the grain before the war. We’ve continued to import wheat from Russia since the outbreak of the war, importing some 479k tons of Russian wheat in March — 24% more than in the same month last year.

The 61.5k-ton wheat shipment from India reportedly set sail from the country last week, according to the Hindustan Times, citing an unnamed Indian government official. It is unclear whether this is the same 55k-ton shipment — our first from the country — that had already passed the inspection of Egyptian officials. This comes a week after India banned wheat exports to all except “vulnerable countries” that have permission from New Delhi.

At least a dozen countries have applied for an exemption to India’s wheat ban, the Indian news outlet said. Egypt is already in talks with the country over securing its own exemption. Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy said last week that an agreement to buy 500k tons of Indian wheat will not be impacted by the ban, but clarified later that the purchase has been agreed but not signed.

ON THE NOT-SO-GOOD NEWS FRONT- Processed cooking oil prices officially rose 20% over prices set during Ramadan as of 15 May, following a meeting the Supply Ministry held with cooking oil companies, state-run MENA agency wrote. The selling prices for pure corn and sunflower oil also rose 30-35%. El Moselhy said the price hike came in a bid to help oil producers and ensure none of them need to cut down production or cut back on staff amid the rise of global prices on the back of the war.

The edible oils market has been reeling from the war in Ukraine, which prior to Russia’s invasion was the world’s top exporter of seed oils and the global number one producer of sunflower oil. The rise of sunflower oil prices on the back of the war hit Egypt particularly hard, as it imports more than half of its sunflower oil from Ukraine in 2020, according to the most recent data.

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