Russian Wheat Prices Slide as New Crop Arrives

Prices for Russian wheat fell last week following the beginning of the arrival of the new crop and despite continuing risks to the harvest from the June heatwave, analysts told Reuters on Monday.

Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note that Black Sea new-crop prices for wheat with 12.5% protein content were $193 a ton free on board (FOB) at the end of last week, down $2 from a week earlier. 

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, quoted FOB wheat for July delivery down $5 at $193 a ton. FOB barley prices rose by $2.50 to $168, it added.

Russia’s 2019 grain harvesting started earlier than a year ago because of dry weather in several regions. As of July 5, farmers had harvested 19.3 million tons of grain with an average yield of 4.06 tons per hectare.

The yield remains higher than a year ago but below initial expectations of some analysts. SovEcon on Monday cut its forecast for Russia’s 2019 wheat crop.

Rains are expected to come to Ukraine and Russia within two weeks and benefit spring grain crops, SovEcon said. However, they could miss Russia’s southern regions, which are the main producers of wheat for export.

Domestic prices have been falling on the arrival of the new crop. Prices for third-class wheat fell by 250 rubles to 10,825 rubles ($170) a ton at the end of last week in European parts of Russia on an ex-works basis, SovEcon said. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs. 

Russia exported 42.6 million tons of grain in the 2018/19 marketing season to June 30, according to SovEcon. That included 35.2 million tons of wheat.

During the first four days of the 2019/20 season, the country exported 36,000 tons of wheat, 107,000 tons of barley and 31,000 tons of corn, the consultancy said. It expects July grain exports of 4.1 million tons.