Egypt extended its strong start to wheat buying for the new crop year with a 240,000-tonne order from Romania, an unusually large order from a single origin, despite lingering concerns over the impact of rains.
Egypt's Gasc grain authority - at its second purchase in the first nine days of the 2014-15 crop year - purchased all its requirement from Romania, despite competitive bids from other origins.
Indeed, the cheapest offer – excluding freight – was of Ukraine wheat, priced by merchant Venus at $248.87 a tonne.
French wheat was also offered below $250 a tonne, and cheaper than some of the winning Romanian lots, being priced by Soufflet at $249.50 a tonne.
However, Romanian origin scooped the $63m order thanks to the lower shipping charges from its Black Sea ports to Egypt, the top wheat importing country, some as low as $9.99 a tonne, compared with $16.49 a tonne from Ukraine and at least $17.50 a tonne from France.
The order was an unusually large one from a single origin, the largest since at least 2012-13, and takes to 420,000 tonnes Gasc's orders of Romanian wheat so far during the new crop year.
Gasc wheat purchases, July 9
Romania: 60,000 tonnes from Glencore, $249.35 a tonne, plus $10.35 freight
Romania: 60,000 tonnes from Ameropa, $250.78 a tonne, plus $9.99 a tonne freight
Romania: 60,000 tonnes from Invivo, $251.00 a tonne, plus $11.60 a tonne freight
Russia: 60,000 tonnes from Nidera, $251.00 a tonne, plus $10.60 a tonne freight
The start of this month, besides marking the start of 2014-15 for many major northern hemisphere wheat trading countries - with the notable exception of the US which starts its crop year in June - also marked the start of Egypt's new budget year.
The reliance on Romania comes despite some lingering concerns over the impact of heavy rains on the quality of the country's crop, and more so on that in neighbouring Bulgaria, with moisture on ripe grain encouraging sprouting and lowering protein levels.
Romania has more rain to come, with more than half of its farms expected to receive 1-2 inches of rain over the next five days, according to INTL FCStone.
"There are some question marks about exactly what Romania will have to offer," a European grain trader told Agrimoney.com.
"But you have to hope that traders have done their home work, and have the facility to get the right quality stuff."