Russia has threatened to impose a ban on citrus imports from Egypt, a move that could escalate a trade dispute over exports of Russian wheat to the African country.
Egypt is the world’s largest importer of wheat, and Russia said it hopes to hold talks over Cairo’s failure to approve Russian wheat shipments since tightening regulations on ergot, a common grains fungus, in late August.
Traders said that several cargoes suspected of containing trace level of the fungus have since been held at Russian ports awaiting a decision from Egypt over whether to allow them to pass under the old rule.
Zero tolerance on ergot could halt Russian wheat exports to Egypt at a time when the country has its largest wheat crop in post-Soviet history.
Russian wheat export prices fell last week, partly due to delayed supplies to Egypt, and are expected to remain under pressure until the situation is resolved, traders said.