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Russian wheat export prices fall again with global benchmarks

Reuters, 04.03.19

MOSCOW, March 4 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices continued to fall last week in line with global markets, analysts said on Monday.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content for delivery in March were $226 per tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, down $8 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, quoted FOB wheat prices down $5 at $235.5 a tonne while barley was down $6 at $220 a tonne.

"There are no serious factors explaining such a steep fall," SovEcon analysts wrote in a note. "It's possible that the market expected weather problems to affect winter wheat in the Northern hemisphere, but this still hasn't happened."

"There were also high expectations of a complete departure of Russian wheat from the export market, and that didn't happen either," SovEcon wrote.

Last week, SovEcon raised its forecast for Russia's 2018/19 wheat exports to 35.9 million tonnes from 35.6 million tonnes due to the high pace of exports.

Russia's federal statistics service Rosstat also raised its estimates for Russia's grain crop last year, to 113.2 million tonnes from 112.9 million tonnes, RIA cited the agency as saying.

The country exported 34 million tonnes of grain from the start of the season on July 1 to Feb. 28, equivalent to the same period a year ago, according to SovEcon. That included 28.8 million tonnes of wheat, a rise of 6.5 percent.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat were down at 19,825 roubles ($301.59) a tonne at the end of last week in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, according to SovEcon. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

Russia's Agriculture Ministry continued to sell grain from its stockpile last week, offloading 29,000 tonnes of wheat. It has sold 1.63 million tonnes of grain, including 1.39 million tonnes of wheat, since the start of these sales this marketing year.

Sunflower seed prices were down at 19,825 roubles a tonne, SovEcon said. Domestic sunflower oil prices remained flat at 43,500 roubles a tonne, as did export prices, at $650 a tonne.

IKAR said its white sugar price index for southern Russia was down at $526.64 a tonne from $534 a week earlier.

($1 = 65.7355 roubles)

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