31 Jan 2023 19:26

Egypt could become primary buyer of Russian wheat this season - Grain Exporters Union

MOSCOW. Jan 31 (Interfax) - Egypt may become the primary buyer of Russian wheat this season (July 2022-June 2023), Chairman of the Union of Grain Exporters Eduard Zernin told Interfax.

"Egypt made a clear choice in favor of Russian grain, primarily wheat. Development of direct contacts within the framework of the "grain diplomacy" strategy contributed to this choice and enabled us to adapt both the delivery schemes and the settlement mechanisms," Zernin said.

According to him, the transition to settlements in rubles may give a new impetus to cooperation between the two countries. "We believe that, given the newly acquired experience, Russian exporters will be able to increase their supplies at least 1.5-fold, and Egypt will become the main buyer of Russian wheat this season, displacing Turkey," the Union chief said.

As reported, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said at a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday that his country is aiming not just to maintain the current pace of wheat supplies from Russia, but to further increase them. In addition, the two sides are working on mechanisms to use national currencies in trade settlements.

As reported in the Union's Telegram channel, on February 2, Egypt's GASC (state company for the purchase of food) plans to hold another tender for the purchase of wheat with delivery February 26-March 10 and/or March 11-20. It will take place three weeks after the previous one. Over the seven months of the current season (July 2022-January 2023), Egypt contracted 5.06 million tonnes of wheat through GASC and private companies, of which 4.55 million tonnes have already been delivered. At the same time, wheat imports last season totaled 5.04 million tonnes.

According to Zernin, the rate of shipment of Russian grain abroad continued to break records in January. The top five buyers of Russian wheat remain the same: Turkey remains in the lead, followed by Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Algeria. "Now Pakistan, which has already purchased more than 1 million tonnes of Russian wheat this season, is approaching the top five," he said.

According to the head of the union, favorable weather conditions influenced shipment trends in early January. In December, bad weather did not allow exporters to ship the volumes that were planned. "Furthermore, some exporters accelerated the pace of shipments in anticipation of the introduction of quotas on grain exports. We've seen this trend every year since the quota was introduced," Zernin said.

Russia's grain export quota will be in effect from February 15 to June 30. This year the quota is 25.5 million metric tonnes. The auota is distributed on historical principles. An addition this year will be a separate quota of 500,000 tonnes for regions of the Far East.