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Russian wheat export prices up with global benchmarks

Reuters, 25.03.19

MOSCOW, March 25 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices rose last week, supported by an increase in global benchmarks in Chicago and a strengthening of the rouble, analysts said on Monday.

Last week, the rouble hit its strongest level since August, while Chicago wheat futures touched 3-1/2 week highs. RU/RUB

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and for delivery in April were $227 per tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, up $5 from a week earlier, agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, quoted FOB wheat prices up $3 at $226 a tonne.

The country exported 35.7 million tonnes of grain from the start of the season on July 1 to March 21, down 5 percent from a year ago, according to SovEcon. That included 30.1 million tonnes of wheat, up 5 percent from a year ago.

SovEcon also said it may downgrade its forecast for Russia's 2018/19 grain exports from the current 44.8 million tonnes due to the rouble strengthening and relatively high domestic prices.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat were unchanged at 12,000 roubles ($186) 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.

Russia's agriculture ministry continued sales of grain from stocks last week, when it sold 34,000 tonnes of wheat. It has sold 1.7 million tonnes of grain, including 1.4 million tonnes of wheat, since the start of these sales during the current marketing year.

As of March 21, farmers had sown spring grains on 1.5 percent of the planned area, or 454,000 hectares, compared with 97,000 million hectares a year ago, the ministry added.

Sunflower seed prices were down 125 roubles at 19,100 roubles a tonne as the market remained under pressure due to a stronger rouble and high supply, SovEcon said. Domestic sunflower oil prices fell by 150 roubles to 42,850 roubles a tonne, while export prices were steady at $650 a tonne.

IKAR said its white sugar price index for southern Russia was $527.1 a tonne on March 22, up $10 from a week earlier.

($1 = 64.3750 roubles)

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