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Russian wheat export prices fall on weaker rouble

Reuters, 14.11.17

Russian wheat export prices fell for the second consecutive week due to a weaker rouble currency against the dollar and softer demand, analysts said on Monday.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content for December delivery were $191.5 a tonne free on board (FOB) at the end of last week, down $0.5 from a week earlier, agriculture consultancy IKAR said.

The rouble weakened by 0.2 percent against the dollar last week, pressured by debt repayments which increase the demand for the foreign currency.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, said maize (corn) prices were unchanged at $166 a tonne, while barley prices rose $3 to $195 per tonne due to strong demand.

“The barley production in the main exporting countries – Ukraine, Australia and the European Union – is expected to be lower than a year ago. Russia is an exception to this case, the output here is expected to rise significantly,” SovEcon said.

It sees Russia’s 2017 barley production rising by 2.7 million tonnes to 20.7 million tonnes.

“However, Russia’s export of this cereal is limited by the lack of export capacity in ports, which are mainly focused on wheat now,” SovEcon added.

Russia’s grain exports are expected to hit a record 45 million tonnes in the 2017/18 marketing year, which started on July 1, but limited infrastructure has put a brake on further expansion, analysts have said.

By Nov. 8, Russia had exported 17.5 million tonnes of grain since the start of the season, up 25 percent year-on-year. Wheat exports were up 20 percent at 13.5 million tonnes.

Russia, one of the world’s largest wheat exporters, is expected to produce a record grain crop this year. It has already harvested 137.2 million tonnes of grain before drying and cleaning. Its farmers have also sown winter grains for next year’s crop on 97 percent of the planned area.

Domestic prices for third and fourth-class wheat were up by 50 roubles at 8,300 roubles ($139.9) and 7,475 roubles a tonne respectively in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, SovEcon said. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

Russian sunflower seed prices were down 125 roubles at 17,050 roubles a tonne last week, SovEcon said. Domestic sunflower oil prices and FOB export oil prices remained at 44,000 roubles per tonne and $755 a tonne, respectively.

IKAR’s white sugar price index for southern Russia rose $9.3 to $396.6 a tonne as of Nov. 10.

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