Iran may purchase EU wheat amid supply disruptions
PARIS, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Iran may step up its purchases of European
wheat after heavy rains pounded the southern hemisphere, threatening to
disrupt supplies from Argentina and Australia, exporters said.
Iran last week bought 180,000 tonnes of European Union soft wheat, including
120,000 from France and 60,000 from Sweden.
It also purchased 240,000 tonnes of Argentine wheat, but several exporters
said Argentina was becoming increasingly reluctant to sell additional quantities
of its new harvest given the uncertain impact of the rains.
European exporters are already convinced that Iran, the world's second
largest wheat buyer, is facing supply difficulties as a result of weather
problems experienced by its two traditional suppliers, Argentina and Australia.
Iran is expected to import 7.0 million tonnes of wheat in 2000/01, down
from 7.3 million the previous season, according to the latest estimates
from the International Grains Council. But exporters believe this volume
could be exceeded.
"The Iranians are currently on the look-out, with the problems
the rains in Argentina and Australia are causing," said a European
Union grains sector source.
But France is unlikely to see large benefits from any shopping spree
after its wheat harvest was damaged by heavy rains during harvesting, with
Iran more likely to seek higher-quality German and Swedish wheat instead,
Iran was France's largest client last season, purchasing a total of
1.517 million tonnes, according to cereals office ONIC.
Argentina's weather problems could also affect other wheat importers,
such as Algeria, which might return to Germany to make up any supply deficit,