PARIS: None of the four cargoes of Kazakh wheat bought by Egypt’s state buyer so far this season made it to the North African country after GASC rejected one cargo because it contained unauthorized seeds, its Vice-Chairman said on Thursday.
GASC refused one Kazakh wheat cargo at the port of origin in November due to the presence of the seeds and then allowed the seller to switch the three others to Russian wheat, Nomani Nomani told Reuters.
The rejection was due solely to the unauthorized seeds and not because of the quality of Kazakh wheat which remained on GASC’s list of approved origins, he said in an interview on the sidelines of the annual congress of French farm cooperatives group InVivo.
"The refusal was not a rejection of the wheat quality but of some (seed) components not of GASC standard," he said, speaking through an interpreter.
The rejection of the cargo and the switching of three others to Russian wheat had contributed to an easing in Kazakh prices and a rise in Russian prices, he said.
Regarding market speculation Russia could impose grain export duties later this season, Nomani said he had no indication from the Russian authorities about such a move.
GASC remained opposed to Russia using export restrictions, whether in the form of duties or an outright ban, he said, arguing this "would lead to a lack of faith in the Russian origin."
Talk that Russia could impose export duties to cap volumes swept through grain markets this week, fuelling expectations the Black Sea exporter would be largely absent from GASC’s international tenders in the coming months.
The Russian government has said it would consider grain export duties if volumes this season reached a ceiling of 23-25 million tons but this week said it was not looking at any measures.
GASC was satisfied with increasing competition in its tenders after French wheat became price-attractive in recent weeks and it also expected to see offers of US and Australian wheat in coming tenders, he said.
The agency expects to buy another 500,000 tons of wheat between now and the end of June, having already purchased over 4 million tons since July 1, he said.
Russia has claimed the bulk of GASC’s purchases this season, with the rest coming from Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Romania, France and Argentina, as it offered large volumes of attractively priced wheat early in the season after ending a year-long ban on grain exports following a drought last year.
There has also been market talk that Russian wheat from Siberia, where stocks are more abundant than in southern regions near Black Sea ports, did not meet GASC specifications because of oat grass content.
Nomani said there had been no quality problems with Russian wheat this season.