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Russian wheat prices broadly flat after state export tax cut

Reuters, 08.10.15

MOSCOW, Oct 5 (Reuters) – Russian export prices for wheat were broadly flat last week after the government agreed to cut its export tax from Oct. 1, making Russia’s output more competitive on the global market, analysts said on Monday.

The tax move had been widely expected by market players since early September, and prices for wheat had risen by between $7 and $9 per tonne in the last four weeks. Russia is one of the world’s top wheat exporters to North Africa and the Middle East.

Black Sea forward prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content were flat at $188 per tonne free-on-board (FOB) at the end of last week compared with a week earlier, Moscow-based agriculture consultancy IKAR said in a note.

SovEcon, another consultancy, had FOB prices up $2 at $189 per tonne. Domestic prices for third-class wheat rose 75 roubles from a week earlier to 10,300 roubles per tonne in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis.

In the Asian part of the country, domestic wheat prices were supported by the agriculture ministry’s proposal over increasing grain prices for the state restocking programme by 1,000 roubles per tonne on average.

Prices for third-class wheat added 1,000 roubles to 10,250 roubles per tonne in Siberia, also supported by a delay in harvesting caused by rains, SovEcon added.

Russia’s winter grains sowing campaign, originally delayed by dry weather in southern regions, has gathered pace and is now running ahead of last year in all large producing areas, except the Volgograd region.

SovEcon also said average prices for sunflower seeds were down 350 roubles at 25,250 roubles per tonne. Domestic sunflower oil prices fell 1,850 roubles to 52,650 roubles per tonne, while export prices were up $10 at $740 to $750 per tonne.

SovEcon has upgraded its forecast for the country’s sunflower seed crop to 9.4 million tonnes from a previously expected 9 million tonnes, due to higher yields, it added. Russia’s total oilseeds crop is now expected at 14.3 million tonnes, it added.

IKAR’s white sugar price index for southern Russia was at $603 per tonne, down $1 from a week earlier.

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