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Russian Wheat Prices Down As Harvesting Starts, Benchmarks Fall

Reuters, 05.07.16

Russian wheat export prices fell further last week ahead of the start of active harvesting and amid a decline in global benchmarks, analysts said on Monday.

Russia, a major global wheat exporter, is widely expected to harvest the largest wheat crop in its post-Soviet history this year. Spot wheat futures in Chicago hit a nine-year low late last week on higher than expected U.S. sowing estimates.

“The grain market remains under significant pressure,” SovEcon agriculture consultancy said. “Market participants see confirmation of a high, may be even record harvest in Russia…”

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and supply in July were at $172 a tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, down $4 from a week earlier, IKAR, another consultancy, said.

SovEcon quoted FOB wheat prices in the Black Sea area for supply in July at $174.5 per tonne, down $7, and added that some of the first offers of the new wheat crop concerned their buyers with low protein content.

Black Sea barley prices fell $8 to $148 per tonne, IKAR said. SovEcon pegged them at $154 per tonne, down $6.

The Agriculture Ministry has said the grain crop might reach 110 million tonnes this year, up from the planned 106 million, if the weather remains favourable. Russia harvested a record crop of 108 million tonnes in 2008.

SovEcon plans to update its forecast on July 11. Its latest estimate is 106.9 million tonnes of grain, including 64.0 million tonnes of wheat.

Russia exported 33.8 million tonnes of grains, including 24.5 million tonnes of wheat, between July 1, 2015 and June 29, 2016, the agriculture ministry said. The pace of grain exports was up 11 percent year on year. The 2015/16 marketing year ended on June 30.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat fell 500 roubles compared with the end of a week earlier to 11,100 roubles ($174) a tonne in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, according to SovEcon. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

SovEcon also said average prices for sunflower seeds fell 125 roubles to 25,375 roubles a tonne. Domestic sunflower oil prices remained at 54,150 roubles a tonne, while FOB Black Sea export prices fell $5 to $790 a tonne.

Source: Reuters

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