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Russian wheat export prices down on weaker rouble

Reuters, 23.12.15

Russian export prices for wheat down further last week as the rouble fell further and global benchmarks weakened, analysts said on Monday. The rouble has lost about 6 percent against the dollar since the start of December on sliding oil prices and triggered the rise in Russia's wheat export tax.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content were at $189 a tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, down $4 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said. Prices in the Azov Sea, via which Russia supplies wheat to Turkey, fell $5 to $157 per tonne, it said in a note.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, said FOB wheat prices in the Black Sea were down $0.5 at $192.5 per tonne, while prices for corn (maize) were $167 per tonne. The wheat export tax is set at 50 percent of the customs price minus 6,500 roubles ($91) per tonne, but not less than 10 roubles per tonne. With the rouble rate against the dollar at 71 and the FOB price of $192.5 per tonne, the tax is 334 roubles ($4.7) per tonne.

Prices in the domestic market have been supported by demand from the agriculture ministry, which bought 74,000 tonnes of grain to replenish state stocks last week. The ministry wants to buy 2 million tonnes of grains during the current 2015/16 marketing year started on July 1, of which it has already purchased 1.2 million tonnes.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat added 25 roubles to 10,950 roubles ($154) per tonne in the European part of Russia, on an ex-works basis, according to SovEcon. Russia's grain stocks at farms and at procurement and processing companies, excluding small farms, were up 2.9 percent from a year earlier to 39.9 million tonnes as of December 1, data from the statistics service Rosstat showed.

SovEcon also said average prices for sunflower seeds were up 1,025 roubles at 25,200 roubles per tonne. Domestic sunflower oil prices jumped 1,325 roubles to 54,825 roubles per tonne, while export prices were flat at $790 per tonne. Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus will cut raw sugar import tariffs in January to $203 per tonne from $240 per tonne in December, the Russian Sugar Producers' Union said. The tariff is expected to remain flat at $203 per tonne in February, the Union added.

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