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Russian wheat prices lifted by global benchmarks and port disruption

Reuters, 12.02.18

MOSCOW, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Russian wheat prices rose last week as global benchmarks touched multi-month highs in Chicago while port disruptions because of storms also offered support, analysts said on Monday.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content for March delivery were at $197 a tonne free on board (FOB) at the end of last week, up $2 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 $1 at $198 a tonne and maize (corn) up $4 to $179 a tonne. Prices for barley gained $1 to $198 a tonne.

At Feb. 7 Russia had exported 31.4 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2017/18 season on July 1, including 24.5 million tonnes of wheat, the agriculture ministry said. The pace of grain exports was up 36 percent compared with the same period in the previous season.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat rose 25 roubles to 8,575 roubles ($147.8) a tonne in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, SovEcon said. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

"One can expect larger grain supply towards the end of the first quarter," SovEcon said. Russian farmers need money ahead of the start of spring grain sowing and stockpiles remain at a high level, it added.

Conditions for Russia's winter grain sowings remain favourable in general, with no severe frosts in the central and southern regions, SovEcon said.

However, snow cover is lower than a year ago, which could lead to less favourable soil moisture levels in the coming months.

Temperatures, meanwhile, are expected to fall to as low as -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit) in the Volga region this week, increasing the risk of plant damage, SovEcon added.

New-crop sunflower seed prices rose 25 roubles to 19,550 roubles a tonne, while domestic sunflower oil prices were flat at 43,750 a tonne. Sunflower oil export prices rose $10 to $745 a tonne.

IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia fell by $24 to $459.5 a tonne as of Feb. 9.

($1 = 58.0360 roubles)

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