April 1, 2013
Egypt will receive payment facilities from US and European wheat suppliers as the world's biggest wheat importer struggles to fulfil payment for imports, said the country's minister of supplies, Bassem Ouda.
"American and European exporters of wheat will provide payment facilities to Egypt to import wheat during a period of up to nine months," Ouda said.
He did not say whether Egypt will be given a full nine-month window to pay or whether payments would be divided over nine months.
A ministry official said that the minister did not want to reveal the details of the deal in order to "protect the interests of Egypt".
He added that Egypt also wanted to reach agreements with non-US suppliers, which include Russia.
"All exporters are welcome to present their views to the ministry with the facilities they would like to give to us to import wheat from them," he said.
Egypt subsidises bread for its 84 million people. Bakers have threatened a strike, seeking overdue subsidy payments they put at nearly US$60 million.
A cabinet report has revealed that the country now holds 2.116 million tonnes of grain, enough to last 85 days.
Egypt buys around 10 million tonnes a year, but state purchases since January have fallen to less than a quarter of the volume in the same period last year.