HAMBURG/PARIS- Algeria’s state grains agency OAIC has purchased between 500,000 to 570,000 tonnes of milling wheat expected to be sourced mainly from South America and the Black Sea region in an international tender on Friday, European traders said.
No sales of French wheat were reported. The tender had closed on Thursday but had been postponed while Algerian authorities debated whether to accept French wheat, traders said.
Traders said they expected the wheat bought on Friday to be mainly sourced from origins including Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Argentina. Some German sales were also spoken of.
“I think it is pretty clear Algeria was seeking alternatives to French wheat but Russian is too expensive because of export taxes,” one trader said.
Diplomatic tensions between Paris and Algiers in recent months appeared to have reinforced a push by OAIC to diversify its wheat sources away from France, traditionally its leading supplier, according to traders.
Estimates of purchase prices were still around $348 to $350 a tonne c&f, traders said. More detailed assessments of prices and tonnage bought are possible later.
Algeria does not release results of its tenders and reports are based on trade estimates.
The current tender sought wheat for shipment in two periods - March 1-15 and March 16-31 - from the main supply regions including Europe. If sourced from South America or Australia, shipment is one month earlier.
(Reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Gus Trompiz in Paris, editing by Jason Neely) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +49 172 671 36 54; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))