Egypt Independent

Supply minister negotiating US$1 bn loan for wheat, petroleum products

Egypt is currently negotiating with the Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank over a US$1 billion loan for wheat and petroleum products, the supply minister said Sunday.

During a visit to Ismailia for the opening of a bakery complex, Gouda Abdel Khaleq said the government had negotiated an increase in the usual $400 million loan the government receives from the bank to $1 billion, in accordance with the bank's Islamic transactions.

Egypt is the world's largest wheat importer and over the past few months has been suffering a fuel shortage.

Meanwhile, Egypt is continuing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a $3.2 billion loan to meet the budget deficit and support its economy, which was shaken in the wake of the January 2011 uprising.

The IMF said it requires a political consensus in Egypt on the government's economic program before approving the loan.

In February, Egypt bought 180,000 tons of US soft red winter wheat for an 11 to 20 April shipment on a free on board basis.

Since the start of the 2011/12 fiscal year on 1 July 2011, the General Authority for Supply Commodities' purchases have been dominated by Black Sea-origin wheat.

Since then the supply authority has purchased 3.24 million tons of Russian wheat; 180,000 tons of Romanian wheat; 360,000 tons of Ukrainian wheat; 60,000 tons of Russian, Ukraine or Kazakh wheat at the seller's option; and 60,000 tons of Russian or Kazakh wheat at the seller's option.

It also bought 300,000 tons of French wheat and 240,000 tons of Argentine wheat, as well as 235,000 tons of US soft red winter wheat.

In the fiscal year that ended on 30 June 2011, the supply authority purchased some 5.58 million tons of French, US, Canadian, Australian and Argentine wheat.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm