Egypt's state grains buyer will be able to make international wheat purchases through a newly-launched exchange that is also aimed at eliminating local price distortions, its chairman said.
With grain markets disrupted this year by fluctuating prices and the war in Ukraine, Egypt's General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) has been diversifying its purchasing methods.
State-run GASC recently opted to buy directly from global suppliers, instead of through its traditional tender system, as it looks for more competitive offers.
GASC can also procure local wheat from farmers via the exchange, Ibrahim Ashmawy, deputy supply minister and chairman of the exchange, told Reuters on Sunday.
"If today GASC is a seller (on the exchange), tomorrow it can be a buyer," Ashmawy said. "It'll have different channels."
GASC had asked global suppliers to register at the bourse by November, but traders said there was confusion over whether the suppliers or their local agents were required to do so.
Egypt, typically the world's largest importer of wheat, launched the new commodities exchange on Sunday, the supply ministry said in a statement, with GASC offering 12,000 tonnes of Russian wheat from its reserves to private sector mills.