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|15 April, 2019

Russian wheat prices stable on stronger rouble, limited supply

Wheat of the Russian origin lost another important purchase tender by Egypt's state grain buyer GASC last week

MOSCOW- Russian wheat export prices were stable last week as the rouble strengthened, which was supported by higher oil prices and seasonally limited supply, analysts said on Monday.

Wheat of the Russian origin lost another important purchase tender by Egypt's state grain buyer GASC last week as it was more expensive than Romanian and Ukrainian wheat. Egypt has been the largest buyer of Russian wheat in recent years. 

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content for delivery in April were $225 per tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, unchanged from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said. 0#IKAR

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SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, said FOB wheat prices were up $1 to $227 a tonne.

Weather will be favourable for grain sowings within the next two weeks, SovEcon said, adding that average or higher than average precipitation was expected in the most part of the European part of Russia and also in Ukraine.

SovEcon said this week it would probably upgrade its forecast for Russia's 2019 crop from the previous estimate of 126.1 million tonnes of grain, including 80 million tonnes of wheat. Russia's agriculture ministry sees Russia's 2019 grain crop at 118 million tonnes.

As of April 12, farmers had sown spring grains on 6.6 percent of the planned area, or 1.9 million hectares, compared with 741,100 hectares a year ago, the agriculture ministry said. Russia's spring grain sowing was delayed a year ago compared with usual pace of previous years due to a late spring.

The condition of winter grains is close to the average level of recent years or slightly better in all of the Russia's regions where snow has already thawed, SovEcon said, citing the results of its poll of farmers.

Russia exported 37.8 million tonnes of grain from the start of the season on July 1 to April 11, down 7 percent from a year ago, SovEcon said. That included 31.7 million tonnes of wheat, unchanged from a year ago.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat rose 125 roubles to 12,200 roubles ($190) 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. 

Russia's agriculture ministry continued to sell grain from its stockpile last week, offloading 15,000 tonnes of wheat. It has sold 1.75 million tonnes of grain, including 1.47 million tonnes of wheat since the start of this marketing year.

Sunflower seed prices were down 100 roubles to 18,875 roubles a tonne, while domestic sunflower oil prices dropped 200 roubles to 42,325 roubles a tonne, SovEcon said. Sunflower oil export prices rose $10 to $650 a tonne.

IKAR said its white sugar price index for southern Russia rose $4 to $504.7 a tonne from a week earlier.

($1 = 64.2900 roubles)

(Reporting by Polina Devitt and Olga Popova; editing by Davide Evans) ((Polina.Devitt@thomsonreuters.com; +7 495 775 12 42; Reuters Messaging: polina.devitt.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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