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Egypt may extend tolerance for higher moisture French wheat beyond

Egypt's state grain buyer the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) is studying an extension of the decision to accept French wheat with higher moisture levels beyond the end of August, the state news agency MENA reported on Sunday. Egypt, one of the world's largest wheat importers, has been accepting French wheat with a moisture level of up to 13.5 percent in its tenders with a penalty paid by traders.

GASC began accepting wheat with elevated moisture levels a year ago having previously set a 13 percent limit. The higher moisture levels in the wheat affect the amount of flour extracted from it. Mamdouh Abdel Fattah, the vice chairman of GASC, told the agency an extension of the exemption was being considered to diversify the origins of wheat that Egypt imports.

Egypt exerts a strong influence over the global wheat market with imports of 10 million tonnes per year, split more or less equally between the GASC and private importers. France is one of Egypt's most important wheat suppliers but had struggled to meet the more stringent moisture limits imposed by GASC.

Egypt's GASC has so far not purchased any French wheat in the financial year 2015/2016 which started July 1.

In the previous year, it imported 1.040 million tonnes of French wheat.

Copyright Reuters, 2015