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Russian wheat export prices rise as crop forecast slashed

Reuters, 09.06.18

MOSCOW, June 9 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices rose this week as leading Russian agricultural consulting firms slashed their forecast for the country's 2018 grain crop due to unfavourable weather and concerns over the crop in Ukraine.

The two consultancies, SovEcon and IKAR, cut their estimates for Russia's 2018 grain harvest due to cold wet conditions in the key spring wheat regions of Siberia and the Urals.

Severe drought in eastern and southern regions could shrink Ukraine's 2018 wheat harvest by 15-30 percent below original forecasts, the state hydrometeorological centre said on Friday.

Black Sea prices for the new crop of Russian wheat were at $206 a tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis at the end of this week, up $1 from a week earlier, IKAR and SovEcon said in separate notes.

As of June 6, Russia had exported 49.7 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2017/18 season on July 1, up 47 percent year-on-year, including 38.5 million tonnes of wheat, the agriculture ministry said.

The pace of exports slowed down sharply this week to 600,000 tonnes from around 1.2 million tonnes in previous weeks, SovEcon said. It expects Russia's June exports of wheat, barley and maize at 3.1 million tonnes vs 5.05 million tonnes in May.

Farmers have already sown spring grains and pulses on 88 percent of the planned area, or 27.3 million hectares, compared with 30.2 million hectares a year ago, the agriculture ministry said.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat were down 25 roubles to 9,375 roubles ($150) a tonne at the end of this 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 225 roubles to 22,400 roubles a tonne, SovEcon said. Domestic sunflower oil prices were steady at 45,175 roubles, while export oil prices declined by $10 to$725.

IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia was down $9.5 at $538.75 a tonne.

($1 = 62.4420 roubles)

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