Russian Wheat Prices on The Rise for Six Straight Weeks

A stronger ruble against the dollar and demand ahead of Russia’s New Year holiday has driven export prices for Russian wheat up for a sixth straight week last week, analysts told Reuters.

Agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note that prices for Russian Black Sea wheat with 12.5% protein content for January delivery rose $6 to $218 per ton on a free on board (FOB) basis at the end of last week.

SovEcon, another agricultural consultancy in Moscow, said wheat prices were up $3 to $216 per ton. Barley fell by $2 to $186.5 per ton.

Russia exported 22.4 million tons of grain, including 19.6 million tons of wheat, between the start of the 2019/20 season on July 1 and Dec. 19, SovEcon said, citing customs data. Total grain exports were down 15% from a year earlier.

The weather in Russia remains dry and far warmer than usual, SovEcon said. Colder weather is expected to arrive within a couple of weeks, but there is no threat for winter grain sowings so far, it said.

Domestic prices for third class wheat in the European part of Russia fell by 100 roubles to 11,650 roubles ($187) a ton by the end of last week, SovEcon said. That price was on an ex-works basis, which excludes delivery costs.

Russia’s 2019 grain crop totaled 120.6 million tonnes after drying and cleaning in 2019, the stats service said last week, citing preliminary data. That was up from 113.3 million tons in 2018.

SovEcon estimates that the stats service would add 100,000-300,000 tons when updating its crop estimate later in the season.