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Russian wheat prices fall with global benchmarks

Reuters, 20.02.19

Russian wheat export prices fell last week, tracking a decline in US wheat futures to multi-month lows on indications of declining prices on the global export market, analysts said on Monday. Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and for delivery in February were $240 a tonne free on board (FOB) at the end of last week, down $3 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, pegged FOB wheat prices down $6 to $243.5 per tonne. Barley prices fell $3 to $229 per tonne, it added. Last week, SovEcon raised its estimate for Russia's 2019 grain crop to 126.1 million tonnes due to favourable weather conditions for winter grain sowings. Russia's Agriculture ministry currently expects a crop of 118 million tonnes.

Precipitation is expected in the European part of Russia within one or two weeks and may further improve the condition of winter grain sowings, SovEcon added. The country exported 32.8 million tonnes of grain from the start of the season on July 1 to Feb. 14, unchanged from a year ago, according to SovEcon. That included 27.8 million tonnes of wheat, up 9 percent.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat fell by 225 roubles to 12,275 roubles ($185) 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. SovEcon expects a gradual decline in domestic prices in coming weeks due to more active sales from farmers.

Russia's Agriculture Ministry continued sales of grain from its stockpile last week, when it sold 68,600 tonnes of wheat. It has sold 1.55 million tonnes of grain, including 1.31 million tonnes of wheat, since the start of these sales this marketing year.

Sunflower seed prices were steady at 20,000 roubles a tonne, SovEcon said. Domestic sunflower oil prices rose by 175 roubles to 43,850 roubles a tonne, while export prices remained at $655 a tonne. SovEcon expects sunflower oil to decline soon due to a fall in global soyabean oil prices. IKAR said its white sugar price index for southern Russia was $526 a tonne on Feb. 15, up $15.6 from a week earlier.

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