Russia vows to reschedule wheat shipments to Egypt despite export ban

The government on Tuesday declared that it was satisfied with an announcement by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov that Russia would reschedule delivery of contracted wheat shipments to Egypt in October.

One day earlier, Trade and Industry Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid said that Russia had agreed in principle to reschedule shipments of more than 540,000 tons of Russian wheat to Egypt.

Rachid's statements followed a Russian decision to suspend all wheat exports due to an ongoing drought that has affected more than one third of the country's total wheat harvest.

According to one Finance Ministry official, the government may not need the LE2.5 billion to LE4 billion that it had requested two days ago–with the ostensible aim of helping it meet rising global wheat prices–now that Russia has agreed to reschedule wheat shipments.

The same official also blamed the media for exaggerating the issue, especially given that Egypt possesses strategic wheat reserves sufficient for four months.

Nevertheless, Rachid expected prices of wheat commodities–with the exception of subsidized bread–to rise by some 20 percent this month due to the high cost of French wheat, 240,000 tons of which Egypt contracted for purchase after Russia announced its export ban.

“Egypt cannot raise a case against Russia for breaching its contracts because international law allows for the termination of grain trade agreements in cases of natural disaster,” Rachid explained.

Global wheat prices continued to fall on Tuesday, with traders noting that Egypt's recent purchase of French wheat represented the first sign that Europe stood to benefit from the Russian ban.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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