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Russian wheat export prices rise further on possible sales curbs

Reuters, 08.10.18

MOSCOW, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices ended higher for the fourth week in a row, supported by speculation about potential export limits in Russia as the agriculture safety watchdog continued adding pressure on traders, analysts said on Monday.

The watchdog last week said it could suspend operations of some grain-loading operations in two of Russia's top grain exporting regions. Some traders interpreted that as another step on Russia's way to potential grain export curbs.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content were at $228 a tonne free on board (FOB) at the end of last week, up $4 on the week, IKARagriculture consultancy said in a note.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, quoted FOB wheat up $3 at $229 a tonne and barley flat at $232 a tonne.

Some of the watchdog's regional offices also requested additional checks for grain exports to Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Nigeria and Sudan from Oct. 5, two traders said.

The watchdog told Reuters it did not issue new requests and its toughened checks, in place since mid-September, already apply for exports to all destinations.

Some traders of Russian grain were previously betting on no export curbs at least until December. The market still seems to be sharing that view, given exporters last week sold 180,000 tonnes of Russian wheat to Egypt, one of their main customers, for Dec. 1-10 shipment.

"Sellers of Russian wheat are relatively calm about early December so far," SovEcon said, referring to results of the Egyptian tender.

Russian grain exports quickened last week, SovEcon said, citing preliminary customs data. Russia exported 15.7 million tonnes of grain over July 1-Oct 4. That was up 26 percent from a year ago and included 13.5 million tonnes of wheat.

Russia's agriculture ministry also said on Monday that it would start a sale of 1.5 million tonnes of grain from its stockpiles within two or three weeks as it aims to reduce budget spending on servicing stockpiles. It holds 3.4 million tonnes of grain in these stockpiles.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat were down 25 roubles at 10,950 roubles ($163.6) 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 grain.

Prices for sunflower seeds were flat at 19,125 roubles a tonne, SovEcon said. Domestic prices for sunflower oil declined by 500 roubles to 46,500 roubles a tonne, while export prices fell $5 to $665 a tonne.

IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia was at $554 a tonne on Oct. 5, down $8 from a week earlier.

($1 = 66.9325 roubles)

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