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Russian wheat prices rise on stronger demand

Reuters, 25.09.17

MOSCOW, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices rose last week, supported by higher global benchmarks and strong demand from buyers, analysts said on Monday.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and September delivery were at $189 a tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) basis at the end of last week,up from $185 a week earlier, agriculture consultancy IKAR said.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, said wheat prices rose $4.5 to $189.5 per tonne, while barley prices climbed $5 to $185 per tonne.

Chicago wheat futures WZ7 hit their highest in a month last week on technical buying and short-covering, while Paris wheat prices were also up.

Egypt, the world's largest wheat importer and the top buyer of Russian wheat, acquired 175,000 tonnes of Russian wheat in a tender on Sept. 19.

As of Sept. 20, Russia had exported 10.5 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2017/18 marketing season on July 1, up 34 percent from a year earlier. Wheat exports are up 22 percent at 8 million tonnes.

Russia is widely expected to harvest a record grain crop this year and become the world's largest wheat exporter in the marketing year.

The country may harvest 116-117 million tonnes of grain by clean weight in 2017, the TASS news agency quoted Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev as saying on Friday.

That is an upgrade from the ministry's previous estimate of 110 million tonnes but it is still lower than unofficial analysts' estimates of around 133 million tonnes.

Russian farmers harvested 117.7 million tonnes of grain before drying and cleaning from 81 percent of the total area as of Sept. 21.

The Agriculture Ministry has been trying to stimulate grain exports, partially via state subsidies for supplies by railway.

As part of this programme, state rail monopoly Russian Railways said last week it would reduce tariffs for Russian grain exports from several regions by 10 percent between Oct. 1 and June 30. But SovEcon said the measure would not have any significant impact on the pace of grain exports.

SovEcon has also upgraded its forecast for Russia's 2017/18 grain exports by 400,000 tonnes to 44 million tonnes, including 32.4 million tonnes of wheat.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat were unchanged at 8,125 roubles ($141.69) a tonne in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, according to SovEcon. Prices for fourth-class wheat rose 175 roubles to 7,250 roubles a tonne. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

Russian sunflower seed prices were down 375 roubles to 17,925 roubles per tonne, SovEcon said, while domestic sunflower oil prices added 75 roubles to 44,075 roubles and export oil prices were flat at $765 per tonne.

IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia fell $3 to $438 a tonne as of Sept. 22.

($1 = 57.3442 roubles)

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