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Strong rouble limits fall in Russian wheat prices

Reuters, 05.09.17

Russian wheat export prices fell for a fifth consecutive week, under pressure from a large new crop, but their decline was limited by a strengthening rouble against the dollar, analysts said on Monday.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and September delivery were at $179.5 a tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, down $0.5 from the week earlier, IKAR agriculture consultancy said in a note.

The rouble hit its strongest level against the dollar in the last two and a half months last week, supported by higher oil prices and foreign demand for Russian assets.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, said Russian FOB barley prices fell $1 to $176 per tonne. IKAR also pegged barley prices for September delivery at $176 and added that prices for the new crop of maize (corn) for October delivery were at $165.

As of Aug. 30, Russia had exported 6.91 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2017/18 marketing season on July 1, up 29 percent from a year earlier. Wheat exports are up 11.3 percent at 5 million tonnes.

Russia’s grain harvesting has got ahead of the previous year’s level after a delay caused by rains but winter grain sowing for the next year’s crop is still running slower than a year ago.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat fell by 150 roubles to 8,500 roubles ($147) a tonne in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, according to SovEcon. Prices for fourth-class wheat fell 125 roubles to 7,575 roubles a tonne. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

Russian sunflower seed prices were down 575 roubles at 19,300 roubles per tonne, SovEcon said, while domestic sunflower oil prices fell 500 roubles to 44,000 roubles and export oil prices were up $5 at $765 per tonne.

IKAR’s white sugar price index for southern Russia was up $4 at $435.5 a tonne as of Sept. 1.

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