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Russian wheat exports gathered pace in December before holiday lull

Reuters, 02.01.19

MOSCOW: Russian wheat exports rose sharply to 1.2 million tonnes in the last week of December, but trade is expected to be thin during the Dec. 30-Jan. 8 New Year holiday, the SovEcon agricultural consultancy said.

Russian wheat

As of Dec. 27, Russia, the world’s largest wheat exporter, had shipped 28.2 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2018/19 season on July 1. That was up 5 percent from a year ago and included 23.8 million tonnes of wheat, the agriculture ministry said.

“The pace of exports speeded up significantly towards the end of the (last) month,” SovEcon said, adding that it had upgraded its estimate for December total wheat exports by 500,000 tonnes to 3.4 million tonnes.

“There will be low activity in the market in the nearest two weeks due to the long New Year holiday. The first working day in Russia will be on January 9 but many people will return to work only on January 14,” it added.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and for delivery in January were $236 a tonne free on board (FOB) at the end of last week, down $2 from a week earlier, SovEcon said. Barley prices were steady at $236 a tonne.

In the domestic market, wheat prices have been rising in recent weeks due to a weaker rouble currency and reduced supply, SovEcon said.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat were up 325 roubles at 11,450 roubles ($164) a tonne at the end of last week in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

Sunflower seed prices were steady at 18,450 roubles a tonne following a high crop of 12.6 million tonnes, up from 10.5 million tonnes in 2017. Domestic sunflower oil prices rose by 175 roubles to 42,675 roubles a tonne, while export oil prices were down $5 to $625 per tonne, SovEcon said.

IKAR, another agriculture consultancy in Moscow, said its white sugar price index for southern Russia was at $530.8 a tonne as of Dec. 29, down $17 from a week earlier.

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