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Russian wheat prices fall for first time since September

Reuters, 11.11.19

Russian wheat prices fell last week for the first time since early September, following global market trends, industry analysts said.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5% protein content were down $1 to $207 per tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note.

SovEcon, another agricultural consultancy in Moscow, pegged wheat prices at $209.5 per tonne, also down $1. Barley held steady at $185 per tonne.

The decline in the Russian wheat market followed movements in the futures markets, SovEcon analysts wrote.

“(It) looks like prices reflected expectations of lower wheat crops in the southern hemisphere," SovEcon wrote, adding that Argentina had lowered its crop estimates.

“Bulls have run out of new ideas," the analysts said.

No Russian wheat was bought at the latest grain tender by Egypt's state grain buyer GASC on Oct. 29. This was a reminder of its high price, SovEcon analysts wrote, with Russia's best offer around $1 above its French, Ukrainian and Romanian competitors.

Based on data from the Russian agriculture ministry, SovEcon said Russia exported 17.3 million tonnes of grain between the start of the 2019/20 season on July 1 and Oct. 31. This was 15% lower than during the same period the previous year.

Of this, it exported 15.2 million tonnes of wheat, down 13% on the same period the previous year, and 1.5 million tonnes of barley, down 32%, SovEcon said, citing the ministry.

SovEcon said its October grain export estimate was at 3.8 million tonnes, including 3.4 million tonnes of wheat.

Russia has almost completed harvesting the 2019 crop. Farmers harvested 122.5 million tonnes of grain from 95.4% of all sown areas, the agriculture ministry said.

Prices for third-class wheat in European parts of Russia rose 100 roubles to 11,150 roubles ($176.06) a tonne on the domestic market by the end of last week, SovEcon said. That price was on an ex-works basis, which excludes delivery costs.

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