UPDATE 1-Syria says seeking 100,000 tonnes of wheat

Tue Oct 9, 2012 12:55pm GMT
 

(Updates with details, background)

BEIRUT Oct 9 (Reuters) - Syria has issued an international tender to purchase 100,000 tonnes of milling wheat, a commodity not subject to sanctions, as winter nears in the war-torn country.

The state-run General Establishment for Cereal Processing and Trade (Hoboob) said the bidding deadline is October 17.

Shipment was sought within two months from the opening of a letter of credit on the purchase. It also said bidding offers should be in euros only.

Hoboob said on Monday it bought 100,000 tonnes of milling wheat from a Middle Eastern trading firm, underlining the reluctance of international traders to participate in Syrian tenders.

Trade sources say foreign banks, shipowners and grain traders are hesitant to sell to import-dependent Syria - even though food is not itself subject to sanction - forcing Damascus into an array of unusually small deals, meeting a fraction of its 7 million tonne requirement.

Syria says it has so far procured 1.5 million tonnes of local wheat from farmers despite the war.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is trying to crush an 18-month-old revolt against his rule. The crackdown against the opposition has angered Western countries and some Arab states and triggered sanctions under which Syria had been frozen out of traditional dollar-based grain trading.

Syria had on Sept. 13 bought 50,000 tonnes of wheat in a tender seeking 100,000 tonnes. Traders had said that all four bids presented in that tender were from Lebanese trading firms and no other international traders had participated. (Reporting by Mariam Karouny; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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