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Stronger rouble helps push up Russian wheat export prices

Reuters, 23.01.18


MOSCOW: Russian wheat export prices rose last week on the back of a strengthening rouble and stormy weather in ports which complicated shipment, analysts said on Monday.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content were at $193 a tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, up $1 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, quoted FOB wheat prices in the Black Sea area up $0.5 to $193 per tonne and maize (corn) prices up $1 to $168 per tonne. Prices for barley remained at $191.5 per tonne.

Russia is expected to export 3.9 million tonnes of wheat, barley and maize in January, down from 4.9 million tonnes in December, SovEcon said on Friday.

Despite the stormy weather in ports, Russian grain exports remain strong for this time of the season after a record grain crop of 134 million tonnes in 2017. Robust exports are stimulating new investment into the agriculture sector and are providing farmers with enough money for the upcoming spring grain sowing, the Agriculture Ministry said.

By Jan. 17, Russia had exported 29.0 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2017/18 season on July 1, including 22.6 million tonnes of wheat, the ministry said. The pace of grain exports was up 36.4 percent compared to the same period in the previous season.

The Agriculture Ministry upgraded its forecast for Russia’s 2017/18 grain exports to 45 million-47 million tonnes last week from the previously expected 45 million tonnes. IKAR currently expects them at 47.5 million tonnes.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat fell 25 roubles to 8,575 roubles ($152) a tonne in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, according to SovEcon. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

New crop sunflower seed prices jumped 400 roubles to 19,575 roubles per tonne, the highest level since August, SovEcon said. Domestic sunflower oil prices and export prices were flat at 43,825 roubles and $735 per tonne, respectively.

Russia harvested 10.3 million tonnes of sunflower seeds in 2017, down from 11 million tonnes in 2016, according to SovEcon’s estimate. The official data is yet to be released.

IKAR’s white sugar price index for southern Russia rose $7 to $449.3 a tonne as of Jan. 19.



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