CAIRO: Egypt s Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchanges (Case) will introduce a commodities market in Cairo in 2008, a senior government official said on Friday.
Case s chairman Maged Shawky had said earlier this year the bourse was in talks with experts from other exchanges to identify those that should be traded on a Cairo platform.
Case and both the ministries of trade and investment have already agreed the new commodities exchange will feature wheat and rice. But there is a possibility that Case will include other commodities like cotton a few months after the launch, a senior Investment Ministry official told Reuters. The exchange should be up and running by 2008, he added.
Last month, Shawky told reporters in Dubai the commodities market will be independent and that Egypt s Ministry of Investment is expected to send out requests for proposals for it soon.
He said Case will put together a consortium and bid strongly for the commodities exchange.
Case also was in talks with the Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) on the possibilities of a joint study on the exchange, Shawky added.
The DGCX is the only gold and commodities exchange in the Middle East.
Egypt, a country of more than 70 million people, produces about 4 million tons of milled rice a year and consumes about 3.2 million tons.
The most populous Arab country is one of the world s biggest wheat importers, with wheat imports expected to remain above 7 million tons through 2007-8, according to the Agriculture Ministry. It also imports sugar.
Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid said in 2006 he planned to liberalise Egypt s grains, cotton and sugar markets by pushing for a futures market.
Egyptian cotton, once the backbone of the country s exports, has gone into decline in recent years because other crops are more profitable and the government has abandoned a requirement that farmers plant some cotton.
However, exports have risen recently because the government has allowed imports of cheaper short-staple cotton for domestic use.