Russia to supply first wheat cargo to Algeria in years

Russia is expected to supply 28,000 tons of wheat to Algeria, the head of the analytical center at rail operator Rusagrotrans said on Monday, the first such shipment in more than four years.

Russia, one of the world’s largest wheat exporters, has been lobbying for access to the Algerian market, one of the few major importers to which it had no access until recently.

The wheat cargo to Algeria was loading at one of the Black sea ports, Rusagrotrans’ Igor Pavensky told Reuters, adding it would be the first delivery of Russian wheat to the North African country since December 2016.

Two industry sources, directly familiar with the situation, confirmed to Reuters the size of the upcoming supply. No further supply from Russia to Algeria is planned for now, they added.

Traders see Russian supplies as a long-term threat to the dominance of wheat from France and other European Union countries in Algeria’s massive import program.

Last October, Algeria relaxed its terms regarding bug damage, making it possible to offer Russian and other Black Sea wheat with higher protein.

However, Algerian state grains agency OAIC at the same time imposed a strict standard for another quality specification, which traders said would make suppliers cautious about offering Russian wheat.

An export tax introduced by Moscow in recent months to curb domestic grain prices has also complicated pricing of Russian wheat for overseas sales.

Traders were waiting to see how the Russian cargo will be viewed by OAIC, which has recently rejected shipments of French milling wheat and Canadian durum wheat.

There was no apparent connection between Algeria’s refusal last week of the French cargo, in which the authorities said two dead animals were found, and the Russian wheat shipment that was already planned, traders added.

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