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Russian wheat export prices rise

Reuters, 16.08.16

Russian wheat export prices rose last week as farmers held onto their crops anticipating further price increases and as the rouble currency rose 1.2 percent against the US dollar, analysts said on Monday. "Farmers in (Russia's) south are still not in a rush with grain sales, while supplies from other regions take time," SovEcon agriculture consultancy said in a note.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and supply in August were $168 a tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, up $2 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said. SovEcon quoted FOB wheat prices in the Black Sea area at $170.50 per tonne, up $3.50 from a week earlier. The lack of working capital and storage capacity may soon prompt some farmers to start selling their grain more actively, it added.

Russia's Agriculture Ministry expects the country to harvest the largest grain crop in its post-Soviet history of up to 110 million tonnes, of which 70 million tonnes have already been threshed before drying and cleaning. On the export side, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) currently expects Russia to beat the European Union and become the world's largest wheat exporter in 2016/17 marketing season, which started on July 1. The country exported 2.9 million tonnes of grains, including 2.3 million tonnes of wheat, between July 1 and August 10, the agriculture ministry said. The pace of grain exports was up 13 percent, year on year.

The July data on Russian wheat exports was mixed: the country exported 1.6 million tonnes, according to the customs service, while the Grain Quality Centre said it issued phytosanitary export certificates for 2.6 million tonnes. The centre is part of the state food safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor. Although some of the deals for which certificates were issued may have been cancelled or delayed, its data indicates that July supplies were higher than the customs calculations. "We believe that the real exports were closer to the Rosselkhoznadzor's data," SovEcon said.

Domestic wheat prices rose 25 roubles from the week earlier to 9,600 roubles ($150) a tonne in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, according to SovEcon. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs. IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia was at $611 a tonne at the end of last week, down $44 from a week earlier.

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