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Thursday, 19 January 2023

What wheat is to bread, corn is to chickens

Commodities once again took center stage on last night’s talk shows as the pundits parsed Prime Minister Madbouly’s presser on everything from wheat to imports — with a heavy side serving of bread talk as a new subsidies program gets underway.

Loaves too dear: The new initiative allowing all citizens to buy subsidized bread is meant to bring down prices in the wider market, Assistant Supply Minister Ibrahim Ashmawy told Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa (watch, runtime: 4:20), describing a recent rise in bread prices to EGP 2.25 per loaf as unjustified. The new scheme allows anyone with a prepaid card issued by post offices to buy bread at around EGP 0.90 per loaf or slightly higher.

No changes to ration-card bread: The price of bread for ration-card holders will remain unchanged at EGP 1.00 for 20 loaves, Ashmawy added.

Even as the bread subsidy bill spirals: The bread subsidy bill will more than double to EGP 90-95 bn in the new FY 2023-2024 budget, up from EGP 38 in the current fiscal year, thanks to hikes in global wheat and diesel prices, Cabinet Spokesperson Nader Saad told Moussa in a phone call (watch, runtime: 4:06).

Government intervention on feed imports brings down market prices: The black market price for corn used in feed decreased after state grain buyer GASC announced its maiden corn tender on the international market, Tharwat El Zeiny, the deputy chairman of the Egyptian Poultry Association, told Masaa DMC’s Ramy Rawdwan (watch, runtime: 7:49).

But it will take time to see that trickle down to poultry prices: Some 30-40% of poultry breeders were pushed out of the market by “greedy” traders and a feed shortage amid the FX crunch, El Zeiny said. He now expects feed prices to fall by up to 35%, resulting in a decrease in poultry prices by up to 25% after around 40 days, given the length of the production cycle.

AND- The Bank of Russia approves trade in EGP: Ahmed Moussa took note of the Bank or Russia’s decision to approve the EGP as a currency of trade (watch, runtime: 11:25.) The Russian central bank moved to set daily RUB exchange rates for the EGP, the Emirati AED, the Qatari QAR, and six other currencies from yesterday, RT reports.

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