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Russian wheat prices fall due to intense competition with Romania

Reuters, 18.12.17

MOSCOW, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices fell last week as competition with Romanian wheat was intensified by the latest Egyptian purchase, analysts said on Monday.

Egypt, the world's largest wheat importer and the largest buyer of Russian wheat, bought 295,000 tonnes of Russian and Romanian wheat in a state tender on Dec. 12.

Of the total five cargoes, only one cargo was Romanian but it still came as a surprise to the Russian origin which has dominated Egyptian tenders for months, analysts at SovEcon consultancy said.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content for December delivery were $190 a tonne on a free on board basis (FOB) at the end of last week, down $1 from a week earlier, agriculture consultancy IKAR said in a note.

SovEcon said wheat prices were down $0.5 at $191 per tonne.

By Dec. 13, Russia had exported 24.5 million tonnes of grain since the start of the season on July 1, up 34 percent year-on-year, the agriculture ministry said. Wheat exports were up 33 percent at 19.1 million tonnes.

Russia may export up to 40 million tonnes of wheat in the 2017/18 marketing year, RIA news agency quoted Russian Deputy Agriculture Minister Sergei Levin as saying on Monday.

The country harvested a record 140.4 million tonnes of grain before drying and cleaning this year. Its farmers have already finished sowing of winter grains for next year's crop at 17.1 million hectares, or 98.4 percent of the originally planned area.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat were up 75 roubles at 8,650 roubles ($148) a tonne 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 jumped 800 roubles to 18,600 roubles a tonne last week - the highest level since September, SovEcon said. Domestic sunflower oil prices fell 425 roubles to 44,000 roubles per tonne, while FOB export oil prices remained at $745 a tonne.

IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia was down $9 at $420.7 a tonne as of Dec. 15.

($1 = 58.6180 roubles)

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