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Russian wheat export prices up on market volatility

Reuters, 16.04.18

MOSCOW, April 16 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices rose last week as some farmers held back sales or pulled out of previously agreed contracts after the sharp weakening of the rouble currency.

The rouble shed 6 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar last week, hit by a new round of U.S. sanctions that triggered a massive sell-off across Russian markets.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content for delivery in April or early May were at $212 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 up $3 at $211 a tonne while barley held steady at $217 a tonne. Maize (corn) prices were at $202 a tonne, up $2.

"The sharp weakening of the rouble last week led to a short-term increase in the profitability of exports and also resulted in the situation where farmers in many cases started to refuse previously agreed contracts or simply suspended sales," SovEcon said.

As of April 11, Russia had exported 40.8 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2017/18 season on July 1, including 31.8 million tonnes of wheat, the Agriculture Ministry said. Grain exports were up 39.4 percent from the same period of the previous season.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat jumped by 275 roubles to 9,050 roubles ($145) a tonne at the end of last week in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, according to SovEcon. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

Sunflower seed prices rose by 150 roubles to 20.075 roubles a tonne, SovEcon said. Domestic sunflower oil prices and export oil prices were flat at 43,250 roubles and $750 a tonne respectively.

IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia was at $515.55 a tonne at the end of last week, up $17 from the previous week.

($1 = 62.2480 roubles)

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