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Russia's upgraded export forecast puts brake on wheat price growth, 25.12.18

Chicago wheat futures fell on Friday

MOSCOW- A rise in Russian wheat export prices stalled at the end of last week after Russia's agriculture ministry increased its forecast for 2018/19 grain exports, an analyst said on Monday.

Chicago wheat futures fell on Friday after the agriculture ministry lifted its estimate for 2018/19 exports to 42 million tonnes of grain at its meeting with major traders, who took it as a sign that the risk of export curbs is easing.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and for delivery in January were $237 a tonne free on board (FOB) at the end of last week, down $1 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, quoted FOB barley prices down $1 at $236 a tonne.

Trade has been quiet ahead of Russia's New Year holiday on Dec. 30-Jan. 8, analysts said. "There is basically no trade, the price changes are nominal in nature," Dmitry Rylko, the head of IKAR said.

Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, has been reducing the pace of its exports in recent weeks. Its grain exports are up 4 percent so far this marketing year, which started on July 1, compared with 40 percent in early September.

As of Dec. 20, Russia had exported 26.8 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2018/19 season on July 1, including 22.6 million tonnes of wheat, the agriculture ministry said.

SovEcon also said that it raised its forecast for Russia's 2018/19 grain export by 600,000 tonnes to 43.8 million tonnes, including 35.1 million tonnes of wheat.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat were up 225 roubles at 11,125 roubles ($162.6) 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/RU

Sunflower seed prices rose by 100 roubles to 18,450 roubles a tonne. Domestic sunflower oil prices rose by 150 roubles to 42,500 roubles a tonne, while export oil prices were steady at $630 per tonne, SovEcon said.

IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia was at $547.7 a tonne as of Dec. 21, down $9.2 from a week earlier. ($1 = 68.4353 roubles)

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