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Russian wheat prices rise as farmers hold back on sales

Reuters, 12.09.17

Russian wheat export prices rose last week after falling for five weeks as some farmers held back on sales after high activity in the previous weeks, analysts said on Monday.

Russia, one of the world’s largest wheat exporters, is widely expected to harvest a record grain crop this year, and its grain export infrastructure is working at maximum capacity.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and September delivery were at $183 a tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, up $3.5 from the week earlier, agriculture consultancy IKAR said in a note.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, said wheat prices rose $2 to $184 per tonne, while barley prices climbed $1 to $177 per tonne.

IKAR pegged barley prices for September delivery at $179, up $3, and prices for the new crop of maize (corn) for October delivery at $164, down $1.

As of Sept. 6, Russia had exported 7.8 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2017/18 marketing season on July 1, up 22 percent from a year earlier. Wheat exports are up 7 percent at 5.8 million tonnes.

Russia’s Agriculture Ministry has proposed state subsidies for grain supplies by rail to the exporting ports of Russia’s southern regions, the minister, Alexander Tkachev, told the RIA news agency last week.

According to SovEcon, the chances of the proposal being accepted by the government are very low because it is unlikely to be supported by Russian Railways, the state railway monopoly.

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

Domestic prices for third-class wheat fell by 175 roubles to 8,325 roubles ($145) a tonne in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, according to SovEcon. Prices for fourth-class wheat fell 225 roubles to 7,350 roubles a tonne. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

Russian sunflower seed prices were down 450 roubles to 18,850 roubles per tonne, SovEcon said, while export oil prices fell $5 to $760 per tonne.

IKAR’s white sugar price index for southern Russia was up $11 at $446 a tonne as of Sept. 8.

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