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Penny-a-Loaf Bread Could See Price Hike as War Chokes Off Wheat

  • Egypt could raise some bread costs for first time since 1970s
  • North Africa pivots as exports from Russia and Ukraine stall
Updated on

What can the world’s biggest buyer of wheat do when supplies from mainstay providers Russia and Ukraine are choked by war? For Egypt, it could mean pressing ahead on a delicate venture: raising the price of subsidized loaves for the first time in four decades.

Russia and Ukraine delivered 86% of Egypt’s wheat imports in 2020, according to the United Nations, and the combination of combat, fast-moving sanctions announcements and surging freight and insurance costs is propelling the grain to its highest price in more than a decade. That carries extra resonance in this North African nation, where rising food costs contributed to the Arab Spring protests a decade ago.