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Russian wheat export prices up on Egypt purchase, strong rouble

Reuters, 22.05.17

MOSCOW, May 22 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices rose last week, supported by a state purchase by Egypt, the largest buyer of Russian wheat, and expectations that the rouble currency would rise further against the dollar, analysts said on Monday.

Egypt's state grain buyer GASC bought 295,000 tonnes of wheat in last week's tender, including 60,000 tonnes of Russian wheat at $198 a tonne free on board (FOB) and $10.49 freight.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content were at $185.50 a tonne FOB at the end of last week, up $1 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy SovEcon said.

IKAR, another Moscow-based consultancy, quoted FOB wheat prices in the Black Sea area at $185 a tonne, up $2 from a week earlier.

SovEcon pegged prices for the new crop for July-August delivery at $172 a tonne while IKAR put prices at $174, both up $1 on last week.

Russia's rouble rose 0.3 percent against the dollar last week, helped by stronger oil prices.

GASC also raised the protein requirement in its latest wheat tender by 0.5 percent in a move expected to raise its cost of doing business. It is also likely to dent sales of French wheat, which is more difficult to source at the higher protein level.

"It looks more like an advantage for Russia now as French wheat will find it more difficult to compete with the Russian origin in this market," SovEcon said.

Russia exported 32.2 million tonnes of grain, including 24.9 million tonnes of wheat, between July 1 and May 17, the agriculture ministry said. That equated to a 1.2 percent rise year on year.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat were unchanged from a week earlier at 9,225 roubles ($163) a tonne in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, SovEcon said. Ex-works supply excludes delivery costs.

As of May 19, farmers had sown spring grains on 58.8 percent, or 18.2 million hectares, of the planned area, the agriculture ministry said. That was down 1.7 million hectares from the same date last year, hit by rain and cold weather in May.

The sunflower market continued to rise after the resumption of purchases by Turkey, Russia's top sunflower oil buyer.

Russian sunflower seed prices rose by 175 roubles to 17,575 roubles a tonne, SovEcon said, while domestic sunflower oil prices added 400 roubles to 40,575 roubles and export oil prices gained $5 to $715 a tonne.

IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia rose $1.70 to $572.50 a tonne as of May 19.

($1 = 56.5000 roubles)

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