Wheat reserves held by Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer, will last until the end of January, a local newspaper quoted an official as saying on Friday.
"The safe strategic reserve of wheat will now last until the last week of next January instead of December, the date previously announced in August," Al-Masry Al-Youm said, citing Ahmed El-Rakaiby, head of Egypt’s wheat committee.
Egypt consumes around 14 million tons of wheat annually and relies on foreign supplies for about half of that amount. It said last month it aimed for 70 percent self-sufficiency in wheat by 2020 as it plants new strains with higher yields.
Egyptians traditionally increase consumption of bread during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which started in mid-August.
Hefty state subsidies keep bread affordable in Egypt, where one fifth of the population lives on less than $1 per day, according to UN figures.
A decision by Russia, the largest supplier of wheat to Egypt last year, to ban wheat exports following a drought sent world prices soaring last month.
Egypt’s trade ministry has said the higher prices will cost the state between LE 2.5 billion and LE 4 billion ($451-722 million) in the current fiscal year.