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Russian wheat follows global benchmarks higher

Reuters, 17.01.19

Russian wheat exports rose slightly in the first half of January on strong demand from a major buyer, an increase in global benchmarks and a stronger rouble, analysts said on Monday. Russia's rouble has risen against the dollar in January, while Chicago benchmark wheat prices were driven higher by factors including expectations that thinning supplies in Russia would raise export opportunities for US wheat.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and for delivery in January were $238 a tonne free on board (FOB) at the end of last week, up $1 from late December, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, quoted FOB wheat prices up $2.5 to $238.5 per tonne, while barley prices were steady at $236 a tonne. Apart from a major state purchase tender in Egypt, the world's largest wheat importer and the top buyer of Russian wheat, trade has been largely quiet in the first half of January.

Egypt's GASC bought 415,000 tonnes of Russian wheat in the on January 9. Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, exported 28.8 million tonnes of grain in July-December 2018, up 4.7 percent from a year ago, its agriculture ministry said. It included 24.3 million tonnes of wheat, up 13.5 percent from a year ago.

The ministry expects Russia's 2018/19 grain exports at 42 million tonnes, it said on Monday, adding that it was on track to hold its next meeting on grain exports with traders in February.

SovEcon said it expected a significant decline in Russia's grain exports to 1.9 million tonnes in January from 4.3 million tonnes in December due to seasonal factors. Domestic prices for third-class wheat were down 50 roubles to 11,400 roubles ($170) 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 up 250 roubles to 18,700 roubles a tonne, SovEcon said. Domestic and export sunflower oil prices were steady at 42,675 roubles a tonne and $625 per tonne, respectively. IKAR said its white sugar price index for southern Russia was at $551.9 a tonne as of Dec. 29, up $21.1 from late January.

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