EGYPT – Egypt’s oilseed imports in MY2022/23 would drop by 62% following the repercussions of the war between Russia and Ukraine according to a report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The report showed that the Egyptian soybeans imports (Oct – Feb) of 2022/23, stood at roughly 880,000 MT, a 62.1-percent decrease from the same period last year.
According to USDA, the aftermath of the war drove prices of commodities such as oilseeds to spike and generated a foreign currency crunch in Egypt, coupled with the Egyptian pound losing over 60 percent of its value against the US dollar since March 2022.
In addition, the effects of the war also extended to influence the availability of hard currency needed for the release of soybean shipments from ports adversely affecting the feed industry
Egypt is the Middle East and North Africa’s largest importer, and consumer of Soybeans. While corn remains the primary feed component for the poultry industry.
However, Egypt’s soybeans production covers less than 5 percent of domestic demand, leaving large animal, poultry, and fish producers critically reliant on imports.
With the ongoing constraints in oilseed imports, USDA forecasts Egypt’s soybean production in marketing year (MY) 2023/24 (October–September) at 85,000 metric tons higher than 56,000mt for MY 2022/23 and sunflower at 50,000 mt up from 38,000mt.
Post attributes the rise in production to an increase in the total area harvested. According to Post, the increase in area harvested in MY 2023/24 is attributed to high prices of soybeans in the domestic market, which will encourage many farmers to plant more beans during the summer of 2023.
This follows the recent announcement by the Egyptian government on a guaranteed procurement price of EGP 18,000 per metric ton of soybeans or $584 per metric ton (USD= EGP 30.8) in a bid to encourage many farmers to plant the crop.
In addition, post forecasts Egypt’s soybean consumption in MY 2023/24 at roughly 2.54 million metric tons (MMT), due to an anticipated pick up by the crushing sector amid the availability of more beans to crush than the previous marketing year.
Egypt’s actual domestic crush capacity in MY 2023/24 will reach about 27,000 MT/day, up from 12,000 MT/day in the marketing year 2017/18. However, USDA revealed that most crush facilities usually operate at about 40 percent of their actual capacity.
On consumption, FAS Cairo forecasts soybean oil consumption to reach about 730,000 MT in MY 2023/24 owing to greater amounts of higher-quality cooking oils being blended with soybean and sunflower oils and then channeled through the country’s subsidy
As a result, USDA projects a slight rise in Egyptian soybean imports in 2023-24 to 2.5 million tonnes, attributing the increase to “a slight increase in crushing activity to meet the demand for feed and oil.