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Biggest Egypt order for years lifts wheat futures

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Wheat futures staged a late revival to close back above $6.00 a bushel in Chicago after Egypt, the top importer of the grain, unveiled its biggest order since at least 2010, taking the day's total world orders above 1m tonnes.

Egypt's Gasc grain authority revealed orders totalling 535,000 tonnes of wheat from France, Romania, Russia and Ukraine for an average of about $317 a tonne, on a cost and freight basis.

The purchase was the biggest since at least 2010, topping a 475,000-tonne order in September 2012, and a 420,000-tonne purchase of Russian wheat a year before.

And it too above 3.5m tonnes Gasc's purchases at tender in 2013-14, which have now exceeded $1.0bn in value.

With Algeria purchasing 500,000-550,000 tonnes of milling wheat for $314-315 a tonne, including cost and freight, the day's deal tally topped 1m tonnes from these importers alone.

Market reaction

The Gasc announcement came too late to prevent Paris wheat for March from easing 0.1% to close at E202.25 a tonne even though much of the purchase – 180,000 tonnes – was of French origin.

However, in Chicago, soft red winter wheat futures for March, which had posted small gains before the Gasc announcement, up 1.6% to $6.06 ¾ a bushel in late deals.

Hard red winter wheat for March was 1.9% higher at $6.43 ½ a bushel.

In fact, US hard red winter wheat was the cheapest offered to Gasc excluding freight, as low as $273.14 a tonne by Louis Dreyfus, but excluded by the extra cost of shipping to Egypt across the Atlantic.

The cheapest bid including freight was of $315.83 a tonne, for Romanian wheat, with Russian and Ukrainian grain offered as low as $316 a tonne.


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