CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, has bought 170,000 tonnes of soft wheat from the United States, Australia and Argentina for March 21-31 shipment on a free-on-board basis, the main government wheat buyer said on Saturday.
The most populous Arab nation returned to global markets after an absence of nearly a month to buy supplies of the grain at a time when an uprising is seeking the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.
Nomani Nomani, vice chairman of the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), gave the following breakdown of the purchases:
— 55,000 tonnes of U.S. soft white wheat from Glencore at $345.50 per tonne, with agreed freight costs at $38.08
— 55,000 tonnes of Australian wheat from Louis Dreyfus at $347 per tonne, with freight costs at $38
— 60,000 tonnes of Argentine wheat from Glencore at $354.80/tonne, with freight costs at $32.40 to make a total of $387.20 if loaded from one port or at $384.70 if loaded from two ports
Another tender to purchase hard wheat for Apr. 1-10 shipment was cancelled, Nomani said without providing reasons.
GASC last bought wheat on the global market on January 8, and that tender was the first since pro-democracy protests erupted on January 25.
Cairo’s announcement of the tender to purchase wheat comes after a spell of panic buying by restive North African and Middle Eastern countries in the wake of violent riots toppling the president of Tunisia, another major wheat importer.
Egyptian Finance Minister Samir Radwan said earlier on Saturday that his ministry had allocated an extra 2.8 billion Egyptian pounds over the past two days to finance wheat purchases.
Since the start of the 2010/11 fiscal year on July 1, GASC has purchased about 4.635 million tonnes of French, U.S., Canadian, Australian and Argentine wheat.
In the fiscal year that ended on June 30, GASC purchased some 5.53 million tonnes of U.S., French, Russian, German, Kazakh and Canadian wheat at international tenders.
Traders said the following bids were made in tonnes with dollar price per tonne on an FOB basis unless stated otherwise:
* Glencore: 60,000 French $383.50 from one load port; 60,000 French $385.50 from two load ports; 60,000 Argentine $355 from two load ports; 55,000 soft white wheat $345.50
* Invivo: 60,000 French $379.90 from one load port
* Nidera: 60,000 Canadian $358.96 from two load ports
* Bunge: 60,000 French $387.50 from one load port; 60,000 soft red wheat $364.50
* Perdue: 55,000 soft red winter $363.40
* Louis Dreyfus: 60,000 French $388.75 from two load ports; 60,000 Argentine $369 from two load ports; 55,000 Australian $347.80 from two load ports
* Columbia Grain: 60,000 U.S. soft white wheat $342.75
* Granit: 60,000 French $384.88 from two load ports
* Cargill: 60,000 soft red winter $362.50
* Bunge: 55,000 hard red winter $379.33
* Nidera: 55,000 hard red winter $372.67
* Toepfer: 110,000 hard red winter $369.97
* Abu Donkol: 55,000 hard red winter $375
* Louis Dreyfus: 110,000 hard red winter $376
* Venus: 110,000 hard red winter $375.31
* Cargill: 55,000 hard red winter $371.75