EGYPT – Egypt through the General Authority on Supply Commodities (GASC) announced on July 18 that it had removed one of its key grain traders, Dubai based AOS from the list of its key suppliers due to delays in wheat cargoes delivery.

Reuters has reported the top wheat seller to Egypt had failed to deliver on two 60,000 tonne cargoes back in May despite being given extensions and had cancelled one of them.

Additionally, Egypt has approved importation of 120,000 tonnes of wheat previously awarded by its state grain buyer GASC to AOS and Egypt’s Union.

According to the cabinet, the move is geared towards facilitating payments to the original suppliers of wheat.

Speaking to Reuters, a GASC official said the cargoes the cabinet approved on Wednesday had already arrived in Egypt and AOS and Union were no longer on the list of key suppliers of wheat to Egypt.

In November, AOS chairman said the company fulfilled about 20% of Egypt’s annual wheat requirements, including providing 700,000 tonnes per year to state-buyer GASC.

In May, Egypt held an international purchase tender for wheat, in which GASC bought 60,000 tonnes despite a plentiful local harvest that could mean a halt for imports.

Due to a disruption in supplies, the country has been left with an option to import more wheat but at higher prices.

It indicated later in May that it had rejected cargo of Russian wheat due to higher-than-allowed levels of the common ergot fungus that is only harmful in large amounts.

An array of problems range from delays to payment disputes that saw the holding back of two shipments of Russian grain.

Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, imported an estimated 11.5m tonnes of wheat in fiscal year (FY) 2016-2017 and it relies on these supplies to run the bread subsidy programme estimated to benefit almost 70 million citizens of Egypt’s 90 million population.

USDA’s gain report revealed that Egypt is expected to import about 12.5m tonnes of wheat in the coming fiscal year 2018/2019.