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Russian wheat prices down on stronger rouble

Reuters, 20.03.17

MOSCOW, March 20 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices fell last week due to a 1 percent rise of the rouble currency against the U.S. dollar, which makes Russian commodities less competitive on global markets, an analyst said on Monday.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content for April delivery were $191 a tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, down $2 from the previous week, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, quoted FOB wheat at $192 a tonne at the end of last week, unchanged from a week earlier. FOB maize (corn) prices fell $2 to $177 per tonne, it said.

Egypt, the world's largest wheat importer, bought 420,000 tonnes of wheat in a state tender on March 15, including 300,000 tonnes of Russian wheat. It is the largest market for Russian wheat.

Turkey, the second largest market for Russian wheat, removed Russia from a list of countries which are allowed to supply wheat, maize and vegetable oil to Turkey on a duty-free basis starting from March 15, trade sources said last week.

On Friday evening, Turkey denied reports that it has banned imports of certain products from Moscow.

Russia exported 26.2 million tonnes of grain between July 1 and March 15, down 1.8 percent from a year earlier, including 20.2 million tonnes of wheat, Russia's agriculture ministry said.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat, excluding delivery, fell 50 roubles to 10,125 roubles a tonne in the European part of Russia at the end of last week, SovEcon said.

Russia's grain stocks at farms and procurement and processing companies, excluding small farms, have remained at a high level for months after a record crop in 2016, up 14 percent from a year earlier at 32.0 million tonnes as of March 1, data from state statistics service Rosstat showed.

Spring grain sowing in Russia started last week and is 1.1 percent completed so far. The weather conditions in Russia and its Black Sea grain peer Ukraine are favourable for the sowing so far.

Sunflower seeds fell 300 roubles to 18,875 roubles a tonne, SovEcon said. Domestic sunflower oil fell 675 roubles to 42,675 roubles while export prices were down $15 to $720 a tonne.

IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia had risen $11 to $554.6 a tonne as of March 17.

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