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Russian wheat prices down on strong competition

Reuters, 13.08.19

IKAR, another Moscow-based consultancy, and Refinitiv both quoted FOB wheat at $194 a tonne, down $1.

MOSCOW- Russian wheat export prices fell slightly last week, hurt by strong competition from neighbouring countries also exporting via the Black Sea and a decline in wheat futures in Chicago and Paris, analysts said.

Black Sea prices for wheat with 12.5% protein content fell $1 to $194 a tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis by the end of last week, Russian agricultural consultancy SovEcon said. Barley prices rose by $1 to $179 a tonne.

IKAR, another Moscow-based consultancy, and Refinitiv both quoted FOB wheat at $194 a tonne, down $1.

Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, is harvesting amid regular downgrades of crop estimates by leading analysts. IKAR said earlier on Monday it had cut its 2019 domestic wheat crop forecast by 500,000 tonnes to 75.0 million tonnes.

Parts of Russia's Central and Volga regions remained "abnormally wet and cold" last week, SovEcon said. "The weather is expected to improve gradually in the next two weeks but probably it has damaged yields and quality already," it said.

The country has already harvested 60.5 million tonnes of grain - including 49.8 million tonnes of wheat - from 38% of the area.

Russia's grain exports have started to speed up after a slow start this season but are still down compared to a year ago.

Russia has exported 5.2 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2019/20 season, 8% less than in the same period of the previous year, SovEcon said, citing data from Russian port authorities. That figure included 4.3 million tonnes of wheat.

Russia's August exports of wheat, barley and maize are estimated at 4.3 million tonnes, up from 3.8 million tonnes in July, according to SovEcon.

On the domestic wheat market, prices for third-class wheat fell by 50 roubles to 10,425 roubles ($159) a tonne at the end of last week in European parts of Russia on an ex-works basis, SovEcon said. Ex-works does not include delivery costs.

Sunflower seed prices rose by 100 roubles to 20,025 roubles a tonne, while domestic sunflower oil prices jumped by 500 roubles to 46,000 roubles a tonne, SovEcon said. FOB export prices for sunflower oil were steady at $745 a tonne.

IKAR said its price index for white sugar from southern Russia fell to $371.6 a tonne from $391.7 a week earlier. ($1 = 65.6045 roubles)

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