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Egypt fixes prices as Ukraine war hits wheat supply

EconomyEgypt fixes prices as Ukraine war hits wheat supply

Cairo (Times Of Ocean)- Commercially sold bread is set at 11.50 Egyptian pounds a kilo following the Russian invasion.

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Egypt has fixed the price of unsubsidized bread.

The move comes after war cut off access to cheaper wheat from the Black Sea region, particularly affecting exports to the Middle East and North Africa. Egypt imports 60% of its grain from overseas, making it the world’s largest wheat importer. Last year, 80% of the country’s imports came from Russia and Ukraine.

On Monday, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly set the price of commercially sold bread at 11.50 Egyptian pounds per kilo, which is 49 British pence. The new fixed price for flat, round balady bread weighing 90g is 1 Egyptian pound.

Wheat shortage concerns had already caused bread prices to rise by as much as a quarter in some bakeries, to 1.25 Egyptian pounds a loaf, while flour prices were up about 15%, Attia Hamad from the Cairo chamber of commerce told Reuters.

Food price increases have previously caused political unrest in Egypt and other countries including Bangladesh and Indonesia. Droughts in key wheat and rice-producing countries and a spike in energy costs triggered riots in more than 40 countries in 2007 and 2008.

As the war in Ukraine threatens supplies of key staple crops, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization warned there was a danger of severe hunger.

Before the war, Ukraine supplied 12% of global wheat, and was the world’s leading producer of sunflower oil. About two-thirds of the country’s wheat exports were delivered before the invasion, but the rest is now blocked. If the fighting continues, farmers fear they will not be able to plant in the spring or harvest in the summer.

Last week, wheat prices hit record highs, although they have since fallen back.

Along with concerns about wheat production and exports from Russia and Ukraine, the price of basic foods such as sunflower oil has also skyrocketed, while the price of urea, a key nitrogen fertiliser, has more than tripled due to rising energy prices.

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