Egypt has reportedly found alternative grain suppliers
Egypt has cancelled an order for 240,000 tons of Ukrainian wheat that was earlier booked for delivery last February and March but not shipped due to the conflict in Ukraine, Reuters reported this week. This comes as Kiev prepares to resume grain exports via the Black Sea following an agreement with Moscow.
Egypt’s procurement authority released the suppliers from their contractual obligations this week, Reuters said citing its sources, adding that it was unclear whether the contracts were cancelled before or after the internationally-brokered deal was reached.
After being unable to receive its supply from Ukraine, Egypt, one of the world’s biggest wheat importers, bought the grain elsewhere. According to media reports, in June the country purchased more than a million tons of wheat from Romania, Bulgaria, France and Russia. Bloomberg reports that Egypt now has more than seven months of wheat stockpiles.
Moscow and Kiev agreed to restart grain exports via the Black Sea last Friday with the first ship expected to set sail within days. An estimated 20 million tons of grain are awaiting shipping from Ukrainian ports.
The deal was hailed by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as “a beacon of hope and relief” and was widely described as a diplomatic breakthrough that would do much to alleviate the global food crisis.
Ukraine’s main grain export, corn, accounts for over 15% of the global supply. The biggest buyer is the EU, which uses it mainly as animal fodder. Ukraine’s share of the world’s wheat exports in 2021 stood at 10% with Egypt and Indonesia its main customers. The eastern European country ranks fifth among global wheat exporters after the US, Canada, Russia and the EU. Ukraine produces just 3% of the total global wheat output, according to data from the economy and business branch of the Ukrainska Pravda newspaper. Among the country’s other grain exports are barley, millet, oats and rye.
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