Russian wheat export prices follow global benchmarks lower

MOSCOW: Russian wheat export prices fell further last week after Chicago wheat futures, a global benchmark for the market, hit a one-week low, analysts said on Monday.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and for delivery in November were $222 per tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, down $1 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, quoted FOB wheat down $1.5 to $227 per tonne, with barley prices down $1 at $235 per tonne.

During the week the Russian market was supported by export forecasts from the agriculture ministry. One of its officials downgraded the grain export forecast for 2018/19 on Wednesday, but the ministry withdrew his estimate the same day and kept the forecast unchanged at 38-39 million tonnes of grain. This will include 34-35 million tonnes of wheat.
The agriculture ministry’s forecast for grain exports may be too conservative, SovEcon said. In its estimate – last updated in October – SovEcon expects Russia’s 2018/19 grain exports at 42.6 million tonnes, including 34.2 million tonnes of wheat.

As of Nov. 8, Russia had exported 21.5 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2018/19 season on July 1. That was up 20 percent compared with a year ago and included 18.2 million tonnes of wheat.

Russia is finishing 2018’s grain harvesting and the sowing of winter grains for the 2019 crop.

The agriculture ministry expects Russia’s 2018 grain crop at 109 million tonnes after drying and cleaning, including 69.3 million tonnes of wheat. This compares with a record grain crop of 135.4 million tonnes, including 85.8 million tonnes of wheat, in 2017.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat fell 150 roubles to 10,875 roubles ($161) 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.

Sunflower seed prices fell by 200 roubles to 17,350 roubles a tonne, SovEcon said. Domestic prices for sunflower oil were down 350 roubles at 43,000 roubles a tonne, while export prices fell $5 to $640 per tonne.

IKAR’s white sugar price index for southern Russia was at $551 a tonne on Nov. 9, down $7.8 from a week earlier.

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