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Russian wheat prices down in muted trade

Reuters, 05.05.20

* Russia's April-June wheat export quota was reached on April 26
* Russia exported about 4 mln T of grain in April -SovEcon
* Rains expected to arrive in Russia's south soon
* Could be too late for yields in parts of Rostov region

MOSCOW, May 3 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices for the old crop fell this week in muted trade because the official April-June export quota has been reached, the SovEcon agriculture consultancy said.

Russian wheat with 12.5% protein loaded from Black Sea ports and for the nearest delivery was down $2 at $228 a tonne free on board (FOB) at the end of this week, SovEcon said in a note. Barley was steady at $180 a tonne.

The April-June quota of 7 million tonnes, put in place in response to the coronavirus crisis, was reached on April 26, with the agriculture ministry saying that grain exports will be suspended until July once the quota has been shipped.

Russia's April grain exports totalled about 4 million tonnes, according to SovEcon.

State-controlled bank VTB, the largest operator of Russia's grain export infrastructure and a major grain trader, sold half of its grain business to two Russian companies, it said this week.

The market is watching VTB's actions closely as large exporters prepare to start trading the new crop, which is due to arrive in the summer, and negotiate the new season with owners of grain export terminals at ports.

Russia's domestic wheat prices were down because demand from exporters fell sharply and some even sold grain back to the domestic market, SovEcon said.

Russia's agriculture ministry has sold 1.1 million tonnes of grain into the domestic market from its stockpile since the start of sales on April 13.

The ministry plans to sell up to 1.5 million tonnes of grain.

The weather remained mostly dry in Russia's southern regions, but healthy rains are expected within two weeks, SovEcon said.

Their arrival would help the southern crop's prospects a lot, but it could be too late for damaged yield potential in part of the Rostov region, SovEcon said.

Southern parts of the Volga and Central regions have also started to suffer from dryness, it added. Russia has public holidays over May 1-5 and May 9-11.

Other Russian data provided by SovEcon and IKAR: Product: Price at the end Change from week of last week: earlier - Domestic 3rd 14,250 rbls/t -250 rbls class wheat, ($189.5) European part of Russia, excludes delivery (SovEcon) - Sunflower seeds 22,625 rbls/t -150 rbls (SovEcon) - Domestic 50,175 rbls/t unchanged sunflower oil (SovEcon) - export sunflower $680/t -$5 oil (SovEcon) - white sugar, $332.5/t +$16 Russia's south (IKAR)

($1 = 75.2075 roubles)

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