MOSCOW: Russian wheat export prices rose sharply last week after global benchmark Chicago wheat futures hit their highest in nearly two months and domestic supply declined due to seasonal factors, analysts said on Monday.
Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, has been reducing the pace of its exports in recent weeks. Its grain exports are up 4 percent so far this marketing year, which started on July 1, compared with 40 percent in early September.
Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and for delivery in January were $238 a tonne free on board (FOB) at the end of last week, up $10 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note.
SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, quoted FOB wheat prices up $5 at $234 a tonne. Barley was steady at $237 a tonne.
The market has also been supported ahead of a routine meeting of Russia's Agriculture Ministry with grain exporters scheduled for Dec. 21.
Russian officials along with their counterparts in Ukraine, another major Black Sea wheat exporter, have been closely monitoring export activity this season due to a smaller crop.
That scrutiny has caused concern in the global market that Russia could limit exports later in the season. However, the risk of export curbs has eased since October as shipments slowed.
"We assume that there will be no big news following it (the meeting)," SovEcon said.
As of Dec. 13, Russia had exported 25.4 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2018/19 season on July 1, up 4 percent year on year. This included 21.6 million tonnes of wheat, SovEcon said.
The Apiculture Ministry sees Russia's 2018/19 grain exports at 38-39 million tonnes, including 35 million tonnes of wheat.
Russian domestic grain prices also rose as buyers boosted stockpiles ahead of Russia's New Year holiday on Dec. 30-Jan. 8.
Domestic prices for third-class wheat were up 175 roubles at 10,900 roubles ($163.5) a tonne at the end of last week in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, SovEcon said. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.
Sunflower seed prices rose by 100 roubles to 18,350 roubles a tonne. Domestic sunflower oil prices were steady at 42,350 roubles a tonne, while export oil prices rose $5 to $630 per tonne, SovEcon said.
IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia was at $556.9 a tonne as of Dec. 14, up $2.5 from a week earlier.