December 26, 2019 / 2:22 PM / 22 days ago

Morocco suspends customs duty on soft wheat from January 2 to April 30

RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco’s government approved on Thursday a decree to suspend customs duty on soft wheat from Jan. 2 to April 30 to ensure a regular supply and avert price hikes on the domestic market.

The announcement on suspension of the duty, currently at 35%, confirmed a Tuesday report by Reuters.

The decision aims to maintain price stability at a time when soft wheat prices have soared on the international market since October 2019, government spokesman Hassan Abyaba told reporters.

Morocco’s stockpiles of soft wheat would stand at 900,000 tonnes by the end of December covering 2.5 months of industrial millers’ needs, according to the decree seen by Reuters.

Earlier this year, Morocco announced a cereals harvest of 5.2 million tonnes, including 2.68 million of soft wheat, down 49% from a year earlier due to lack of rainfall.

French wheat exporters estimated Morocco’s import needs of soft wheat at 3.8 million tonnes in the 2019/2020 season.

The government plans to spend 14.6 billion dirhams ($1.52 billion) on subsidies of wheat prices along with sugar and cooking gas in 2020.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Gareth Jones and Andrew Cawthorne

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