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Russian wheat prices up as farmers hold back on sales

Reuters, 03.10.17

Russian wheat export prices rose last week as some farmers held back on large sales in a bid to secure higher prices due to a strong rouble and rising demand from importers, analysts said on Monday.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and October delivery were at $191 a tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, up $2 from a week earlier, agriculture consultancy IKAR said.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, said wheat prices rose $4.50 to $194 per tonne, while barley prices climbed $2 to $187 per tonne. Chicago wheat futures hit a one-week low on Monday under pressure from a forecast for higher production in the United States after being broadly stable last week.

As of Sept. 27, Russia had exported 11.7 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2017/18 marketing season on July 1, up 24 percent from a year earlier. Wheat exports are up 16 percent at 9.0 million tonnes.

As for Sept. 28, Russian farmers harvested 123.4 million tonnes of grain, before drying and cleaning, from 86 percent of the total area.

Major Black Sea grain producers Russia and Ukraine are likely to keep their winter grain sowing area stable this autumn, which is expected to yield another large crop in 2018, analysts said.

The pace of winter grains sowing for next year’s crop has reached a record pace, according to SovEcon. It expects the total sowing area to reach 18.1 million hectares, compared with 17.5 million hectares expected by the Agriculture ministry.

However, rains are needed in the European part of Russia in the coming weeks as the soil is dry in some regions, SovEcon added.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat were up 25 roubles to 8,150 roubles ($141) a tonne in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, according to SovEcon. Prices for fourth-class wheat rose 100 roubles to 7,350 roubles a tonne. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

Russian sunflower seed prices were down 525 roubles to 17,400 roubles per tonne, SovEcon said, while domestic sunflower oil prices fell 250 roubles to 43,825 roubles and export oil prices fell $10 to $755 per tonne.

IKAR’s white sugar price index for southern Russia rose $7 to $445 a tonne as of Sept. 29.

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