Iraq Buys 700,000 Tons of Wheat in Tender-trade

Iraq has finalized deals to buy at least 700,000 tons of Canadian, U.S, German, Russian, and Australian wheat from major suppliers in one of the bigger purchases in recent years, trade sources said on Wednesday.

The purchase, which still requires the cabinet's approval, involved at least 300,000 tons of Canadian wheat from two suppliers, one undisclosed and the other Louis Dreyfus, along with 100,000 tons of U.S. wheat from Archer Daniels Midland (ADM.N) at prices hovering around $225 per ton FOB, Middle East trade sources told Reuters.

The rest were 100,000 tones consignment of Russian wheat believed to have been bought from Exam at around $267 per ton CIF (cost, insurance and freight).

Two 100,000 tones each of possibly Australian or German origin wheat were awarded to undisclosed suppliers at around $215 per ton FOB, the sources familiar with the tender said.

The deals were a result of a tender for a nominal 100,000 tons that closed on Jan. 26 with offers that were extended to Feb. 4.

Volumes in Iraq's wheat and rice tenders are viewed as nominal and the country regularly buys more than originally sought.

The prices for the latest deals are close to Iraq's last major purchase of 300,000 tons of U.S. Russian and Australian wheat in a tender that closed last Oct. 26, traders said.

Traders said at the time a total of 100,000 tons of U.S. wheat was bought at about $234 FOB while a similar amount of Russian wheat was secured at about $209 per ton FOB.

Iraq has moved towards diversifying new wheat supply sources in the last two years after making major U.S. wheat purchases.

Iraq is one of the largest importers of wheat, with yearly wheat import requirements of nearly 4 million tones and rice at around one million tones. (Reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi; Editing by Marguerite Choy)

By Suleiman al-Khalidi

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