The Turkish government has changed the country’s agricultural tender rules in a bid to control surging import prices, trade sources told AgriCensus.

Announced in the public gazette on 10 June, the move will allow Turkey’s state-backed grain importing agency TMO to buy directly from governments or an approved list of companies, according to the 13 June report.

“The thinking is that they wish to buy (imports) cheaper,” one Turkey-based contact told AgriCensus.

For major importers, like Turkey or Egypt, the act of issuing a buy tender – often for hundreds of thousands of tonnes – will often result in a jump in prices as traders anticipate new demand entering the market, according to the report.

However, the trade source had highlighted that heavy buying from any major importer was likely to firm prices, AgriCensus wrote.

“Any time TMO asks for offers, the market will jump up anyway… TMO is asking for offers already,” the trade source added.

The tender process – which was typically a two-tier process where best offers from the first round would be scrutinised before the agency pressed for discounts in a second round – could deny the association that cost-cutting step.

“It seems to me like buying without the reverse auction, just on a bid basis. TMO always benefitted from the reverse auction phase, that is - the second round in their tenders,” the trader said.

Turkey had tweaked its import mechanism in recent months – a response in part to surging international prices and the collapse of the lira against the US dollar on international currency markets, AgriCensus wrote.