Egypt's GASC says still negotiating direct contract for wheat

CAIRO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Egypt’s state grain buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), said on Sunday it was still negotiating a contract for the direct import of wheat outside of the regular tender process.

“You saw the last tender the prices were $10 above market and that will not work,” Mamdouh Abdel Fattah, GASC’s vice chairman, told Reuters on the sidelines of a press conference.

Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, cancelled a wheat purchase tender on Friday after receiving only four offers that were well above market prices.

GASC had said last week it was negotiating a 3 million-tonne direct contract but did not give further details.

Abdel Fattah made that statement after global suppliers shunned a wheat import tender over confusion concerning regulations governing the permitted levels of ergot fungus in imported wheat.

Abdel Fattah on Sunday made his comments after Egypt’s supply and agriculture ministers sought to reassure the global market in a press conference that Egypt would continue to accept wheat shipments with ergot fungus levels up to 0.05 percent. (Reporting by Eric Knecht; Writing by Maha El Dahan; Editing by Mark Potter)