Smoke rises from the site of an explosion in Beirut’s port area on Aug. 4, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Azakir)

Who owned the chemicals that blew up Beirut? No one will say

The fertilizer's Georgian producer has since been dissolved; the ship that brought it to Lebanon sank in 2018

Reading Time: 5 minutes Moscow/Dubai/London | Reuters — In the murky story of how a cache of highly explosive ammonium nitrate ended up on the Beirut waterfront, one thing is clear — no one has ever publicly come forward to claim it. There are many unanswered questions surrounding last week’s huge, deadly blast in the Lebanese capital, but ownership […] Read more

Iraq recaptures some grain silos seized by Islamic State

Reading Time: 2 minutes London | Reuters — Iraq has re-taken control of some grain silos previously seized by Islamic State, but most of the grain held cannot be used as militants aim to destroy sites when retreating, a senior grain official said Tuesday. Islamic State, the breakaway al Qaeda group, which declared an Islamic caliphate across parts of […] Read more

Grain exporters to feel price pain as shipping rates to rise

Reading Time: 3 minutes London | Reuters — An improved outlook for global bulk shipping rates spells bad news for grain exporters as they go into the latest sales campaign, with increased freight costs squeezing profit margins and adding to price competition in leading markets. U.S wheat exporters look to be the hardest hit as ship owners prepare to […] Read more

Payment problems reported disrupting Iran food deals

Reading Time: 3 minutes London/Ankara | Reuters — Payment problems are disrupting commercial food cargoes to Iran, with hundreds of thousands of tonnes of grain and sugar stuck in transit, as Western banking sanctions complicate deals and trade financiers scale back exposure. Iran is not barred from buying food or other “humanitarian” goods under sanctions imposed over Tehran’s pursuit […] Read more

Syria tender for food calls for payment from Iran

Reading Time: 3 minutes Syria tendered to import food on Friday using a credit line from Iran’s export bank, in what could be a test of last month’s landmark deal to ease Western financial sanctions on Tehran. Sanctions also imposed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government do not cover food but those on banking, asset freezes and the country’s […] Read more

Iran seeks wheat in new import spree

Reading Time: 3 minutes After months out of international grain markets and payment hurdles, Iran is now seeking at least 300,000 tonnes of milling wheat to help satisfy major import needs due to a poor domestic harvest, traders said Monday. Iran has to import 7.5 million tonnes of wheat this year, President Hassan Rouhani said in September, in what […] Read more

Wheat starts to reach Syria as frozen funds unlocked

Reading Time: 4 minutes Deliveries of wheat are starting to reach Syria’s ports as its bank accounts abroad are gradually being freed from sanctions, with grain traders detecting a greater willingness from European governments to allow deals to go ahead on humanitarian grounds. As civil war grinds on, Syria is facing its worst wheat harvest in three decades. President […] Read more