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Wheat market decline cuts prices at Egypt tender

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Egypt, the world's top wheat importer, highlighted the extent of the decline in world prices of the grain by purchasing supplies $40 a tonne cheaper than it did a month ago.

Egypt's Gasc grain authority at tender bought 180,000 tonnes of Romanian and Russian wheat, for an average of $262.15 a tonne including freight on a c&f basis.

The order included 60,000 tonnes of Romanian wheat purchased for $248.50 a tonne excluding freight – down from the $289.00 a tonne it paid for wheat, from Ukraine, at its last tender on May 16.

The price of this cargo – the cheapest Gasc has paid in 11 months - reflected in part the return of competitively-valued wheat from Romania, the main origin for Gasc purchases at tender in 2013-14, but which was absent from the previous two events.

However, even on a like-for-like basis prices have fallen steeply – if not quite as fast as futures.

Price comparison

Venus, the merchant from which won the May 16 tender, this time offered Ukraine wheat at $255.74 a tonne, 11.5% cheaper.

French wheat was tendered this time at $259.74 a tonne, down 10.7% on the cheapest offer at the previous event.

Bunge offered US soft red winter wheat, the type traded in Chicago, at $255.74 a tonne, down 10.6% on the price last time.

Soft red winter wheat futures for July have fallen by 13.3% in Chicago over the same period.

'Change in the market'

Besides lower prices, the tender was also marked by a sharp pick-up in volumes of wheat tendered, to 955,000 tonnes, from 230,000 tonnes last time.

This increase may have been in part down an increase to 13.5%, from 13%, in the ceiling for acceptable moisture levels in cargos.

However, it also reflected a "change in the market to being far more of a buyers' market", a European grain trader told Agrimoney.com.

"The next harvest is nearly here, is likely to be an early one and a good one, and that is helping to lure out more supplies than perhaps we thought were around a few weeks ago."

The tender, for late-July shipment, leave at more than 5m tonnes Gasc's purchases at tender so far in 2013-14, for a cost of some $1.5bn, including shipping.

Romania, with orders for more than 1.7m tonnes, has been the most popular origin, followed by Russia with 1.5m tonnes, and Ukraine, France and the US providing smaller volumes.

By Agrimoney.com

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