Egyptian Wheat Imports Require Careful Monitoring

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Egypt has the largest population in the Arab world, and imports the most wheat of any country. The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) of the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade of Egypt (MoSIT) alone is the world’s biggest wheat purchaser. Trade participants watch GASC like hawks because any change in their policy can have dramatic effects on global markets.

Egypt’s enormous bread demand stems from a generous subsidy program that started just after World War Two and has remained ever since. Any hint of a reduction in the bread subsidy leads to immediate and widespread unrest. This has forced Egypt’s government to maintain a fixed price of 5 piasters/loaf (around $0.01 current US) since 1989. For perspective, the price on the open market is 36 piasters, so the subsidy amounts to 86%. Russia and Ukraine supply most of Egypt’s import demand through the Black Sea.

As the Egyptian wheat situation changes frequently, we recommend that wheat traders and other interested parties keep track of relevant trade and geospatial data in Gro.

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