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Egypt Buys 300,000 Tons of Russian, Romanian, French Wheat

Egypt bought 300,000 metric tons of wheat in a tender today from suppliers in Russia, France and Romania, said Nomani Nomani, the vice chairman of Egypt’s state grain buyer.

The wheat grown in France was purchased in cargoes of 60,000 tons each, at $353.61 a ton from Bunge Ltd. and $353.61 a ton from Glencore International Plc, Nomani said today from Cairo. Ameropa Grains AG sold a 60,000 ton cargo of Romanian wheat at $355.88 a ton. Glencore sold 120,000 tons grown in Russia at $356.50 a ton. All of the grain is for shipment from Dec. 21 to Dec. 31. Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer.

Wheat supplies in Russia, last season’s third-biggest shipper, and eastern Europe have declined as drought hurt crops this year, raising speculation that Egyptian demand would shift to western European and Western Hemisphere suppliers. Russia last sold wheat to Egypt in a tender on Sept. 13, and more recently the north African country has favored supplies from countries including France and Argentina, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.

Russia’s sale was “a bit surprising,” as some traders may have expected part of Egypt’s business to go to the U.S. today, said Dan Hofstad, a London-based risk management consultant at INTL FCStone, who focuses on the Black Sea region. Russian wheat supplies are more plentiful in southern areas near the port of Novorossiysk than in central parts of the country, and “without any official export ban, they’re going to sell the wheat they have,” Hofstad said by telephone today.

Wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade, the global benchmark, rose 1.6 percent to $8.70 a bushel. In Paris, milling-wheat futures gained 1 percent to 266 euros ($345) a ton on NYSE Liffe.

Export Ban

Russia may harvest 40 million tons of wheat this year, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov said Oct. 9. In 2010, when the worst drought in half a century spurred the government to ban grain exports for 10 months, Russia produced 41.5 million tons of wheat. President Vladimir Putin said Oct. 10 that there’s no need for the country to restrict shipments this year.

Paris wheat futures, which jumped 92 percent in 2010, rose to the highest in almost six weeks on Oct. 25 on speculation that Ukraine would restrict exports next month, after crops suffered from drought and demand accelerated. Ivan Bisyuk, Ukraine’s First Deputy Agriculture Minister, told reporters today in Kiev that no wheat export ban for Nov. 15 has been drafted and there is no government resolution to curb trade.

Combined wheat harvests in Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan fell by 37 percent this year, helping send global stockpiles to a four-year low, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. Egypt has 4.65 million tons of domestic and imported wheat, enough to meet consumption for the next 187 days, the Cabinet said today in a statement.

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