Egypt’s GASC says changed wheat payment terms for tender
Amin Hassan, 30, holds wheat grains in a field in Qaha at El-Kalubia governorate, near Cairo, May 5, 2015. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
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CAIRO: Egypt’s state-owned General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) said that it has changed the terms of payment for wheat purchased in its tenders.

“The letters of credit can now be opened up to 180 days after signing the contract,” Mamdouh Abdel Fattah, GASC’s vice chairman said on Wednesday.

“Before that there was no deferred letter of credit.”

Abdel Fattah declined to give a reason for the change.

Egypt, one of the world’s largest wheat importers, imports around 10 million tons of the grain each year to feed its population of 90 million.

When state tenders are awarded, the firm selling the commodity asks for a letter of credit from one of Egypt’s state-owned banks, which is then confirmed with its own bank.

Some traders have said they experience delays receiving letters of credit for the goods they supply to state buyers.

Egypt’s foreign currency reserves have halved to $16.4 billion since 2011 as imports greatly outpace exports and a 2011 uprising scared off foreign investors and tourists.

Egypt’s central bank tightened trade financing regulations on Tuesday to ease the foreign exchange shortage.

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