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Russian wheat prices rise on strong rouble, demand from Egypt

Reuters, 10.03.17

Russian wheat export prices rose last week, supported by a strong rouble and demand from Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, analysts said on Monday.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content for March delivery were $192 a tonne free on board (FOB) at the end of last week, up $1 from the previous week, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, quoted FOB wheat at $192.5 a tonne at the end of last week, up $1 from a week earlier, and said maize (corn) prices were $1 higher at $179 a tonne.

Egypt’s state grain buyer GASC bought 535,000 tonnes of wheat, including 235,000 tonnes of Russian origin, in a tender on Feb 28.

Demand for Russian wheat was also supported by customers who switched to Russian origin grain from Ukrainian origin, SovEcon said.

Russia exported 24.6 million tonnes of grain between July 1 and March 1, down 3.5 percent from a year earlier, including 19.0 million tonnes of wheat, the agriculture ministry said.

The country harvested a record crop of 120.7 million tonnes of grain in 2016, up from a previously estimated 119.1 million tonnes, the state statistics service Rosstat said last week.

The Agriculture Ministry currently expects Russia’s 2017 grain crop to come in at between 105 million and 110 million tonnes, compared with SovEcon’s forecast of 113 million tonnes, which includes 69 million tonnes of wheat.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat, excluding delivery, fell 150 roubles to 10,300 roubles a tonne in the European part of Russia at the end of last week, according to SovEcon.

Domestic supply remains high as farmers need to raise funds before the start of spring sowing in March, SovEcon said, which said weather conditions for winter grains remained satisfactory.

Sunflower seeds fell 225 roubles to 19,400 roubles a tonne, SovEcon said. Domestic sunflower oil fell 400 roubles to 43,675 roubles while export prices were flat at $740 a tonne.

IKAR’s white sugar price index for southern Russia had fallen $15 to $534.16 a tonne as of March 3.

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