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Russian wheat prices rise on stronger rouble, delayed harvest

Reuters, 17.07.17

MOSCOW, July 17 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices gained for a ninth straight week, supported by the rouble strengthening against the dollar, while rains delayed the harvesting campaign, analysts said on Monday.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and for August delivery were at $195 a tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, up $1 a tonne from a week earlier, IKAR agriculture consultancy said in a note.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, put Black Sea crop prices for the nearest supply up $7.5 to $197-201 per tonne, the highest level since November 2015.

The gains have been driven by the rouble, currently keeping at its strongest level against the dollar since early July on the back of higher oil prices and weaker expectations of U.S. rate hikes this year.

IKAR also said that prices for wheat with 11.5 percent protein content were at $188 per tonne. According to SovEcon, barley prices rose $2 to $163.5 per tonne, IKAR pegged them at $162 per tonne.

Russia’s grain harvesting has been delayed by rainy weather in several regions this year. As of July 14, farmers had harvested 14.4 million tonnes from 3.2 million hectares, down from 18.2 million tonnes from 4.3 million hectares at around the same date in 2016, the Agriculture Ministry said.

The average yield was at 4.46 tonnes per hectares, up from 4.25 a year ago.

“The pace of harvesting is low compared with the recent years, but one can expect the revival of field works in the nearest time amid better weather conditions,” SovEcon said.

The Agriculture Ministry is yet to update Russia’s grain export data for the previous week. As of July 5, Russia had exported 152,000 tonne of grains since the start of the 2017/18 marketing season on July 1, 6.0 percent less than a year ago.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat were stable last week at 9,275 roubles ($156.9) a tonne in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, according to SovEcon. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

Russian sunflower seed prices rose by 400 roubles to 19,525 roubles per tonne, SovEcon said, while domestic sunflower oil prices increased by 425 roubles to 43,500 roubles and export oil prices were up $10 to $725 per tonne.

IKAR’s white sugar price index for southern Russia fell to $697.9 a tonne last week from $738.7 a week earlier.

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