Egypt wheat inventories to cover 10 months: Official

Bassem Abo Alabass, Friday 22 Feb 2013

Supply ministry official says govt expects to be locally supplied with 4 million tonnes of wheat until May, denies there is currency crisis in Egypt

A farmer harvests wheat on Miet Radie farm El-Kalubia governorate, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Cairo (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt’s projected staple inventories of wheat are enough to cover roughly 10 months as the local production is expected to increase by 300,000 tonnes in 2013, said a governmental official on Friday.

The supply minister’s consultant Noamani Noamani told Ahram Online that current available wheat stocks would cover consumption until the end of June.

He added that the state-owned General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) expects to receive four million tonnes of wheat from farmers in May, which will cover an additional five months.

The London-based newspaper Financial Times (FT) reported on Thursday that Egypt's grain stock is depleted and Egyptians are living hand-to-mouth as the government had cut back on its overseas purchases as the Egyptian pound plunged against the US dollar.

Noamani dismissed FT's claims confirming that "There is a slowdown in Egypt’s imports of grains and this happens because the government prefers to rely more on domestic production and, accordingly save credits."

The government has saved some LE11 billion ($1.6 billion) by cutting wheat imports in the first half of the current fiscal year 2012/13 by approximately two million tonnes, according to Noamani.

"Wheat imports recorded 3.3 million tonnes in the period of July-December of 2012/13," he said.

Noamani went on to point out that the state's banks are saving dollars for GASC to complete importing deals and at the same time the wheat global prices are heading down. "There is no currency crisis," he assured.

According to Index Mundi, the global price of wheat has slumped by 5.5 percent since January to record $317 per tonne.

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