(Adds detail, background, quotes)
By Sarah McFarlane and Michael Hogan
LONDON Aug 3 Iran's state grain buyer continued
to build its strategic stocks, purchasing at least 240,000
tonnes of milling wheat this week, as a drought-fuelled grain
price rally kept food security on government radars.
Taking advantage of the recent correction lower in grain
markets, after a steep rise in June and July, traders said
Iran's purchase included German and Baltic Sea region wheat.
"Iran's been what everyone has been working on this week,
they've definitely been very active this week," said a European
Iran's Government Trading Corporation (GTC) continued its
discreet method of contacting traders directly for offers,
making it difficult to glean details of total purchases.
Iranian grain imports are usually handled by the private
sector but the state was compelled to step in and help with
purchasing earlier this year because of the disruption to trade
financing caused by sanctions aimed at Iran's disputed nuclear
While the sanctions do not target food shipments, they made
it difficult for importers to obtain letters of credit or
conduct international transfers of funds through banks.
However, traders noted that private Iranian buyers had also
been in the market this week, signalling they may have found
ways to finance purchases.
"We have also seen private buyers from Iran inquiring about
European, Russian and Australian wheat for September shipment.
It seems they want to buy for August-March shipment. The
financing does not seem to be a major issue," a European trader
(Reporting by Sarah McFarlane and Michael Hogan; Editing by
Jane Baird and Alison Birrane)