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Russian grains rally with benchmarks amid crop forecast cuts

Reuters, 30.07.18


MOSCOW, July 30 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices rose sharply last week for a second week in a row as global benchmarks rally amid cuts in crop estimates for Europe and the Black Sea and as rains delayed harvesting in part of Russia, analysts said on Monday.

World wheat production is set to fall to a five-year low following significant downgrades to crop prospects in the European Union and Russia, the International Grains Council said last week.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and for delivery in August were $223 per tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, up $12 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note.

SovEcon, another agriculture consultancy in Moscow, said Black Sea FOB prices for wheat were at $216.5 a tonne, up $9, while barley prices jumped $11.5 to $215 per tonne.

SovEcon said it had cut its 2018/19 grain export forecast to 44.8 million tonnes last week from previously expected 47.2 million tonnes, for wheat - to 35 million tonnes from 36.9 million tonnes.

It cut its forecast for barley exports by 400,000 tonnes to 4.0 million tonnes and for maize (corn) by 100,000 tonnes to 3.9 million tonnes.

As of July 25, Russia had exported 3.3 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2018/19 season on July 1, including 2.5 million tonnes of wheat, the agriculture ministry said.

That was up sharply from exports of 1.6 million tonnes a year earlier reflecting an early start to 2018 grain harvesting due to dry weather in several regions.

The world's largest wheat exporter has harvested 34.3 million tonnes of grain from 20 percent of the area, up from 33.8 million tonnes on the same date a year ago.

However, Russian farmers need dry weather in the coming days as harvesting is being delayed by rains in the Central and Volga regions of the country.

"There has been no significant damage to the quality of the new crop. But it will happen if harvesting (in these regions) does not speed up significantly in the coming week," SovEcon said.

Most of the European part of Russia is expected to see dry weather in the next several days but rain is expected to return in the second half of this week, it added.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat were up 75 roubles to 9,300 roubles ($148) a tonne in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, according to SovEcon.

Sunflower seed prices and domestic sunflower oil prices remained at 21,875 roubles and 46,175 roubles a tonne, respectively, SovEcon said. Export oil prices fell $5 to $710.

IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia was $476.6 a tonne as of July 27, down $45 from a week earlier.

($1 = 62.9153 roubles)



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