Egypt bulks up the most wheat in a tender with the biggest purchase in years amid the Russia-Ukraine war. Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer, and the supply is subject to price changes on the global market.
Egypt has taken the advantage of a recent price slump of wheat to bolster stockpiles because Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted global supplies.
Egypt’s state-run buyer bought 815,000 tons of wheat on Wednesday, the largest single purchase since at least 2012. Reportedly, around 70 million Egyptians rely on government-subsidised bread, mostly made from imported wheat.
Egypt bulks up wheat supplies
According to Bloomberg, the wheat trade has been heavily disrupted because of the Russia-Ukraine war. The prices of wheat remain historically high, which is affecting importers’ budgets.
In recent years, Egypt purchased much of its grain from the Black Sea, but those imports were disrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Egypt’s supply minister reportedly said it aims to cut back wheat imports by eking out more subsidised bread from its grain. In a tender, Egypt ultimately booked wheat supply for August, September and the first half of October.
The Egyptian government also said earlier this month that it plans to cut its imports of wheat by 500,000 tons a year or around 10 per cent.
Egypt will also receive a USD 500 million loan from the World Bank to help finance its wheat purchases amid the war. The funds were approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors, aimed at supporting Egypt’s efforts to provide subsidised bread to poor and vulnerable families. According to media reports, over 103 million people live in poverty in Egypt.
Egypt had also contracted to buy 180,000 tonnes of wheat from India. Egypt sought to diversify import origins. Egypt also talked with Russian suppliers for a wheat purchase agreement.