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Russia's maize prices rise further on turmoil in Ukraine

Business Recorder, 10.03.14

Russia's maize (corn) export prices have risen for the second week in a row because of political turmoil in Ukraine, a rival Black Sea supplier, analysts said on Tuesday. Some traders in Ukraine, one of the world's key maize exporters, are holding back from new contracts but the Agriculture Ministry is working to resume the process, it said on Monday.

"The volatile situation in Ukraine and the reluctance of local farmers to sell any grain are supporting Black Sea maize prices," Russian analytical firm SovEcon said in a note.

Russia's maize prices rose by $5 per tonne compared with a week earlier to $228 per tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) basis in deepwater ports last week, according to SovEcon. The Institute for Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR) quoted them at $220 a tonne, up $2.

Russia exported 18.8 million tonnes of grain, including 14.0 million tonnes of wheat and 2.5 million tonnes of maize, between the start of the 2013/14 marketing year on July 1 and the end of February, according to IKAR.

This year's harvest prospects will become a key factor for Russian grain prices soon as farmers in the Krasnodar region, the key wheat-growing area in Russia's south, are due to start their spring grain-sowing campaign.

Russia's prices for wheat with 12.5 percent protein content were up $1 at $280 a tonne on an FOB basis in the Black Sea last week compared with a week earlier, IKAR said. Prices in the Azov Sea were up $2 at $246 per tonne for the same protein content.

Prices have been supported by the latest tender in Egypt, where the state buyer for the world's largest wheat importer agreed to buy 235,000 tonnes of Russian wheat, analysts said.

Prices for wheat with 11.5 percent protein content were down $2.5 at $274 per tonne in deepwater ports and down $1 at $244.5 a tonne in shallow-water ports on an FOB basis, according to SovEcon.

Sunflower seed prices rose, adding 325 roubles to 11,425 roubles ($310) a tonne at the end of last week, SovEcon said. Export prices for sunflower oil rose $10 to $860-870 a tonne on an FOB basis in the Black Sea.

The white sugar price index in Russia's south rose 1,650 roubles to 26,950 roubles ($740) per tonne last week, IKAR added.

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