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Russian wheat export prices fall as prospects for crop improve

Reuters, 14.05.18

MOSCOW, May 14 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices fell slightly last week following a decline in Chicago and Paris benchmarks as rain improved conditions for crops across the United States and the Black Sea, analysts said on Monday.

Chicago wheat Wv1 slid for a fourth straight session on Monday, to its lowest in two weeks as abundant world supplies weighed on the market.

Black Sea prices for the new crop of Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and for delivery in August were at $202 per tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, down $1 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note.

Russia, one of the world's largest wheat exporters, usually starts harvesting in the second half of June. It produced a record grain crop in 2017 and prospects for this year's harvest are also good.

IKAR pegged prices for the old crop with delivery in May unchanged at $213 a tonne amid low liquidity. SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, quoted old crop FOB wheat and maize (corn) prices down $1 to $212.5 a tonne and $201 a tonne, respectively.

As of May 9, Russia had exported 45.3 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2017/18 season on July 1, including 35.2 million tonnes of wheat, the Agriculture Ministry said. Grain exports were up 44 percent from the same period of the previous season.

Russia's May exports of wheat, barley and maize are estimated at 4.20 million tonnes compared to 4.26 million tonnes in April, according to SovEcon.

Farmers have already sown spring grains on 31 percent of the planned area, or 9.5 million hectares, compared with 11.8 million hectares a year ago, according to the ministry.

Domestic prices for fourth-class wheat rose 50 roubles to 8,800 roubles ($142) a tonne at the end of last week in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, SovEcon said. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

Sunflower seed prices rose 200 roubles to 21,075 roubles a tonne, SovEcon added. Domestic sunflower oil prices added 100 roubles to 44,425 roubles, while export oil prices fell $10 to $745 a tonne.

IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia was at $543.8 a tonne as of May 11, up $24 from a week earlier.

($1 = 61.7876 roubles)

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