CASES 323,452 433
DEATHS 6,659 5

MOSCOW: Russian agriculture consultancy IKAR said on Monday it had raised its forecast for Russia's 2020 wheat crop by 1.5 million tonnes to 79.5 million tonnes due to higher yields in the central and Volga regions.

The main grain producing and exporting regions in the south of the country, the world's second-largest wheat exporter after the European Union, have however been hit by dry weather earlier this year.

IKAR did not provide an updated forecast for the total grain crop.

Analysts' views on Russia's 2020 wheat crop are converging after showing a wide range for months, and are above those of Russia's agriculture ministry, which has a forecast of 75 million tonnes.

Russian farmers have already harvested 47.6 million tonnes of wheat before drying and cleaning, and their harvesting campaign in the southern regions is more or less complete.

However, risks remain for the Urals and Siberia which have been hit by dry weather this year. These two regions are less important for Russia's export potential as they are far from the country's main Black Sea ports, but still crucial for domestic consumption and Russia's overall supply-demand balance.

Russian wheat export prices fell last week after three weeks of growth, under pressure from the arrival of the new crop and the weakening of the rouble against the dollar on Monday.

Russian wheat with 12.5% protein loading from Black Sea ports was at $207 a tonne free on board (FOB) for supply in August at the end of last week, down $3 from the week before, IKAR said in a note.

SovEcon, another consultancy in Moscow, pegged wheat unchanged at $209 per tonne. Barley was steady at $181 a tonne.-Reuters