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Russian wheat prices up on higher global benchmarks

Reuters, 15.06.17

MOSCOW, June 13 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices have risen for a fourth week on the back of higher benchmarks in the United States and Europe, analysts said on Tuesday.

European wheat futures last week touched their highest since May 12 on concerns over bad weather damaging crops in the United States. On Tuesday, U.S. spring wheat prices surged to a near two-year high as the condition of the crop was assessed to be well below market expectations.

Russian Black Sea prices for the new wheat crop with a 12.5 percent protein content and for July delivery jumped $7 at the end of last week from a week earlier to $183 per tonne, the IKAR agriculture consultancy said. Prices for the new crop in the Azov Sea were at $161 per tonne, it added.

SovEcon, another consultancy, pegged Black Sea prices for the new crop at $175-180 a tonne, up $2.50 from a week earlier. Prices for the old crop rose $1.5 to $189 per tonne, it added.

Russia exported 33.9 million tonnes of grain, including 26.0 million tonnes of wheat, from July 1 to June 7, the agriculture ministry said. That equated to a 2.5 percent rise year-on-year.

Spring grain sowing is currently 200,000 hectares behind this time last year, but a gap of 1.1 million hectares a week earlier has been narrowed.

As of June 9, farmers had sown spring grain on 98 percent or 30.4 million hectares of the planned area, the ministry said.

SovEcon raised its forecast of Russia's 2017 grain crop last week by 300,000 tonnes compared to its May estimate to 115.6 million tonnes due to a higher than previously expected yield of winter wheat and barley. Its forecast for the wheat crop was upgraded by 400,000 tonnes, to 70.8 million tonnes.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat were up 50 roubles from a week earlier to 9,150 roubles ($161) a tonne in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, SovEcon said. Ex-works supply excludes delivery costs.

"Agricultural producers are continuing with limited sales of their stockpile as they hope to see a further strengthening in global prices and the rouble currency weakening," SovEcon said in a note.

Russian sunflower seed prices rose by 200 roubles to 18,625 roubles a tonne, SovEcon said, while domestic sunflower oil prices and export oil prices remained at 40,825 roubles a tonne and $715 a tonne, respectively.

IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia rose by $23 to $675.6 a tonne as of June 9.

($1 = 56.8765 roubles)

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