WHEAT MARKET IN BULGARIA AWAITS ANOTHER STATE SALE
Bulgaria's cash wheat traded unchanged last week as sellers waited for the State Reserve to complete planned sales.
We want to see the impact of the reserve's next selling tender. They will most probably offer up to 50,000 tons of wheat at prices below market ones, said a Bulgarian trader, cited by Reuters.
Spot milling wheat traded mostly at 260 levs ($117) per ton ex-farm this week, flat from last week and up 64 percent compared with the July harvest period as stocks dwindled due to last year's drought.
A State Reserve official said the body would call a second tender by the end of this month after selling 33,500 tons of 1997 wheat at the first tender in early April. The average price at the first tender was 239 levs per ton ex-warehouse, lower than market prices of 240-260 levs ex-farm.
The reserve official said the sales were part of the annual refreshment of grain stocks but traders called the sales an intervention that aimed to put a lid on domestic prices and partly cover a shortage caused by the drought.
Spot maize also traded unchanged this week due to low demand from cash-strapped livestock breeders. Demand for maize will soon pick up to feed newly born animals, and imports will be needed until the September harvest to cover a shortage of some 150,000 tons, according to an analyst.
The drought reduced maize output to 1.097 million tons in 2000, from 2.0 million in 1999 and compared with annual needs of 1.185 million tons, the farm ministry said. The government allowed unlimited duty-free maize imports in January-September this year but farm minister Ventsislav Varbanov said no imports would be needed.
Last week the Bulgarian plant of Amylum, a starch producing subsidiary of Tate Lyle Plc , imported 50,000 tons of maize from Brazil, traders and officials at the Black Sea port of Varna said. Amylum imported also 11,000 tons of Hungarian maize in February.