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MOSCOW: Russian wheat export prices fell again last week, but have not yet reached levels, considered to be competitive with other grades from Europe, analysts said.

The price of 12.5% protein Russian wheat scheduled for free-on-board (FOB) delivery in March was $224 a metric ton, down $4 from the previous week, the IKAR agriculture consultancy reported.

The Sovecon agriculture consultancy pegged the same class of wheat at $224-230 a ton FOB, compared with $232-238 a week ago.

“It’s still not enough to compete successfully with the EU. Typically Russian wheat trades $5-15 below French and it’s still not the case,” Sovecon noted.

Russia exported 0.86 million tons of grain last week, down from 1.29 million tons the previous week. The exports included 0.72 million tons of wheat (1.03 million tons a week ago), Sovecon wrote, citing data from ports.

“There is still a lot of chatter about ‘weak wheat demand’ globally. North African buyers remain silent and patiently hope to see even lower prices; some large SE Asian buyers are doing the same looking at the fresh Australian crop,” Sovecon analysts wrote in the note.

The consultancy expects February wheat exports will reach between 2.8 million tons and 3.2 million tons, comparing to 3.0 million tons a year earlier.

Quarterly official data showed that the level of wheat stocks in Russia remained at a record-high as of Jan. 1 - 36.5 million tons, up 1% from last year’s level, Sovecon said.

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