Egypt’s GASC to pay for wheat within 180 days instead of immediately

Around 100 million people depend on Egypt's bread subsidy program. (AFP/File)
Updated 25 March 2019

Egypt’s GASC to pay for wheat within 180 days instead of immediately

  • GASC announced in January they will start immediate on-sight payments for grains
  • The state grain buyer was not available for a comment

DUBAI/HAMBURG: Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, will go back to paying its grain suppliers within 180 days instead of immediately, a government source and traders said on Monday.
Egypt’s state grain buyer GASC had said in January it would start immediate on-sight payment after obtaining financing from Islamic Trade Finance Corp. for its international purchasing tenders.
Before that announcement, GASC had for years used a deferred payment system introduced at a time when foreign-exchange shortages plagued Egypt’s economy, pushing up wheat prices offered to the state buyer at its international tenders.
“We can switch between the two payment methods if we don’t have the financing available,” the government source, who is close to the matter, said.
“The next tender to be announced will be with 180-day facilities,” he said.
GASC was not immediately available for comment.
The state buyer secured $1 billion of a $3 billion Islamic Trade Finance Corp. deal to fund its wheat purchases in January.
Prior to that deal, GASC’s letters of credit — banking guarantees for on-time payment to sellers — were being issued prior to shipment, with payment guaranteed within 180 days.
GASC is reverting to that deferred payment system for its upcoming tender, the government source said on Monday.
A senior government source told Reuters in January that the financing from Islamic Trade Finance could be renewed when the initial $1 billion tranche was used up, so deferred payments would no longer make purchases more expensive for GASC.
Egypt said at the end of February it had used $213 million in funding from Islamic Trade Finance for wheat purchases so far, buying 1.02 million tons.
This latest reversal indicates that more funding from that facility is not now readily available, traders said.
“The question being asked is how much money Egypt has,” a European trader said.
“I think this (delayed payment) would add $6 to $7 a ton to the cost of buying wheat compared to immediate payment,” he said.
On-sight payment means cheaper offers by suppliers because the cost of financing deferred payment would be taken out of traders’ calculations when making offers to GASC at international tenders.
Cairo pays around $1.5 billion annually for the grain as part of a bread subsidy program on which many of Egypt’s almost 100 million people depend.


Huawei's third-quarter revenue jumps 27% as smartphone sales surge

Updated 16 October 2019

Huawei's third-quarter revenue jumps 27% as smartphone sales surge

  • American companies, significantly disrupting its ability to source key parts
  • Huawei was all but banned by the United States in May from doing business with American companies

SHENZHEN, SHANGHAI: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd’s third-quarter revenue jumped 27%, driven by a surge in shipments of smartphones launched before a trade blacklisting by the United States expected to hammer its business.
Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecom network equipment and the No. 2 manufacturer of smartphones, was all but banned by the United States in May from doing business with American companies, significantly disrupting its ability to source key parts.
The company has been granted a reprieve until November, meaning it will lose access to some technology next month. Huawei has so far mainly sold smartphones that were launched before the ban.
Its newest Mate 30 smartphone — which lacks access to a licensed version of Google’s Android operating system — started sales last month.
Huawei in August said the curbs would hurt less than initially feared, but could still push its smartphone unit’s revenue lower by about $10 billion this year.
The tech giant did not break down third-quarter figures but said on Wednesday revenue for the first three quarters of the year grew 24.4% to 610.8 billion yuan.
Revenue in the quarter ended Sept. 30 rose to 165.29 billion yuan ($23.28 billion) according to Reuters calculations based on previous statements from Huawei.
“Huawei’s overseas shipments bounced back quickly in the third quarter although they are yet to return to pre-US ban levels,” said Nicole Peng, vice president for mobility at consultancy Canalys.
“The Q3 result is truly impressive given the tremendous pressure the company is facing. But it is worth noting that strong shipments were driven by devices launched pre-US ban, and the long-term outlook is still dim,” she added.
The company said it has shipped 185 million smartphones so far this year. Based on the company’s previous statements and estimates from market research firm Strategy Analytics, that indicates a 29% surge in third-quarter smartphone shipments.
Still, growth in the third quarter slowed from the 39% increase the company reported in the first quarter. Huawei did not break out figures for the second quarter either, but has said revenue rose 23.2% in the first half of the year.
“Our continued strong performance in Q3 shows our customers’ trust in Huawei, our technology and services, despite the actions and unfounded allegations against us by some national governments,” Huawei spokesman Joe Kelly told Reuters.
The US government alleges Huawei is a national security risk as its equipment could be used by Beijing to spy. Huawei has repeatedly denied its products pose a security threat.
The company, which is now trying to reduce its reliance on foreign technology, said last month that it has started making 5G base stations without US components.
It is also developing its own mobile operating system as the curbs cut its access to Google’s Android operating system, though analysts are skeptical that Huawei’s Harmony system is yet a viable alternative.
Still, promotions and patriotic purchases have driven Huawei’s smartphone sales in China — surging by a nearly a third compared to a record high in the June quarter — helping it more than offset a shipments slump in the global market.