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Russian wheat export prices down, track global benchmarks

MOSCOW - Russian wheat export prices fell last week as traders were trying to return to more competitive levels amid a decline in global benchmarks, analysts said on Tuesday.

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MOSCOW - Russian wheat export prices fell last week as traders were trying to return to more competitive levels amid a decline in global benchmarks, analysts said on Tuesday.

Russian exporters face a difficult time in the coming weeks as domestic sellers are reluctant to agree to significantly lower wheat prices while the rouble is strengthening, they added.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content were at $177.5 a metric ton on a free-on-board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, down $3.5 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, quoted FOB wheat prices in the Black Sea area at $180.5 per metric ton, down $1.

"This level is hardly competitive, taking into account a decline in European wheat prices," SovEcon said in a note. Europe's wheat exports have picked up in the past few weeks, helped by a decline in prices.

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Russian wheat traders failed to present competitive offers in the last week's tender of Egypt's state buyer, the largest buyer of Russian wheat.

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) bought 300,000 metric tons of wheat from France, Romania, Argentina and Ukraine at a FOB price of between $172 and $179.65 per metric ton.

Russia exported 24.65 million metrci tons of grains, including 18.4 million metric tons of wheat, between July 1 and Feb. 24, the agriculture ministry said. The pace of grain exports was up 1.9 percent year on year.

Domestic prices for third-class wheat fell 75 roubles compared with the end of the week earlier to 11,375 roubles ($154) a metric ton in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, according to SovEcon. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

SovEcon also said average prices for sunflower seeds were down 125 roubles to 26,550 roubles a metric ton. Domestic sunflower oil prices were down 1,000 roubles to 58,000 roubles a metric ton, while FOB Black Sea export prices were down $15 to $760 a metric ton.

IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia was at $549.8 a metric ton at the end of last week, down $9 from a week earlier.

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