Grain Exports up Last Week, Analysts Predict Higher Sales in March

Grain exports from Russia, the world’s largest wheat exporter, rose sharply last week as the rouble weakened against the dollar, agriculture consultancy SovEcon said on Monday, citing data from ports, Russia reported.

Russian wheat export prices in dollars fell steeply and for the seventh week running last week after a slump in global oil prices and concerns about the spread of the coronavirus pressed the rouble to a four-year lows against the dollar.

Russia’s wheat exports from ports rose by 30% from a week earlier to 725,000 tons, SovEcon said, adding it had upgraded its estimate for Russia’s March grain exports to 3.4 million tons from 2.1 million. The destinations with higher supplies were not immediately clear. Turkey, Egypt and Bangladesh are traditionally the largest buyers of Russian wheat. Russian wheat with 12.5% protein content loaded from Black Sea ports fell by $6 to $207 a ton free on board (FOB) at the end of last week, SovEcon said.

Barley was steady at $181 a ton. IKAR, another consultancy in Moscow, also pegged wheat at $207 a ton, down $5. Russia sees no need to trigger a grain export duty, which is currently at zero, the agriculture ministry said last week. “We do not expect any serious measures from the Agriculture Ministry, at least in the short-term, but we could see more verbal interventions targeted at cooling down the market or slowing down the exports,” SovEcon said. Ruble prices in the domestic wheat market rose sharply, SovEcon said, adding supply was limited as farmers were holding back on sales.

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