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Russian wheat prices ease ahead of new crop

Reuters, 29.04.19

MOSCOW, April 29 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices fell further last week with brighter prospects for the upcoming 2019 crop and low trade activity ahead of Russia's long May holiday, analysts said on Monday.

Favourable weather during spring grain sowing in Black Sea producers Russia and Ukraine is increasing the chances of another large grain harvest due to healthy levels of soil moisture, analysts and traders said last week.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content for delivery in May were $211 per tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, down $10 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, said FOB wheat prices were down $5 to $219 a tonne. Russia has public holidays for most of the first nine days of May.

Russia exported 38.5 million tonnes of grain between the start of the season on July 1 and April 25, down 10 percent from a year ago, SovEcon said. That included 32.3 million tonnes of wheat, down 4 percent from a year ago.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat fell 25 roubles to 12,125 roubles ($188) 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.

By April 26, farmers had sown spring grains on 19.7 percent of the planned area, or 5.7 million hectares, compared with 3.2 million hectares a year ago, the agriculture ministry said. Russia's spring grain sowing was delayed last year by a late spring.

Russia's agriculture ministry continued to sell grain from its stockpile last week, offloading 11,340 tonnes of wheat. It has sold 1.77 million tonnes of grain, including 1.49 million tonnes of wheat since the start of this marketing year.

Sunflower seed prices were down 75 roubles to 18,575 roubles a tonne, while domestic sunflower oil prices were flat at 42,000 roubles a tonne, SovEcon said. Sunflower oil export prices fell $5 to $655 a tonne.

IKAR said its white sugar price index for southern Russia fell by $9.4 to $494.7 a tonne from a week earlier. ($1 = 64.4925 roubles)

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