ECONOMY

Wheat bids again, please

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia has asked three bidders in a purchase tender for 100,000 tons of wheat to send in new bids by today after the previous best bidder pulled out earlier this week, a government official said on Friday. «According to the procedure, we have asked the two domestic companies, YU-Point from Belgrade and AD Koprodukt from Novi Sad, and Iwatani (International corporation Europe), to submit new bids by Monday,» said Slavoljub Tacovic of the state Commodity Reserve Agency. «New bids should include quantity that each firm can deliver by the end of March and at what price,» he told Reuters. Tacovic said the tender commission was expected to pick the best bid today, but added the government was aware it would not be possible to import the full quantity due to lack of time. «We are counting on up to 60,000 tons arriving over the next two months. And we know it will be at a higher price,» he said. Serbia on December 3 called an emergency tender for 100,000 tons of wheat imports to replenish its stocks after a summer drought last year cut its harvest to a 50-year low to 1.35 million tons. Under the terms of the tender, the wheat should arrive in grain silos by March 31 and will not be subject to the 30 percent customs duty which the government has scrapped on wheat until that date. Analysts called on the government to fully liberalize wheat imports over the next two months. Belgrade-based metal-to-grains trader Univerzal TPM, which won the original tender by offering to buy 100,000 tons of wheat at $220 per ton in Canada and Argentina, withdrew earlier this week. The price of wheat hit $251 per ton on Thursday at a commodity exchange in Novi Sad.