Wheat prices edge lower as Russian exports expected to slow

Wheat prices edge lower as Russian exports expected to slow
Forecasts for Russia's grain production this year have been revised upwards slightly to a bumper 141.2mn tonnes in 2023/2024 and exports to 65mn tonnes, compensating for reductions in Ukrainian exports. / bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews October 11, 2023

Chicago wheat futures dipped on October 9 as export prices in major supplier Russia fell further, on expectations of slowing Russian grain exports in the rest of the year, reports Hellenic Shipping News.

Abundant cheap grain flowing from Russia which enjoyed a bumper harvest last year and booming exports this year, is keeping prices low. Ukraine’s grain experts have been reduced by the war, but Russia’s exports have more than made up for the shortfall.

The most-active Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures were down 1.1% at $5.66-3/4 a bushel, near last month’s three-year low of $5.40, Hellenic Shipping News reports.

Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR raised its forecasts at the start of October for Russia’s grain crop this year to 141.2mn metric tonnes from 140.0mn and lifted its estimate for Russian grain exports to 64.5mn tonnes in the 2023/24 season from 64.0mn. (chart)

IKAR also said Russian wheat export prices continued to decline in the first week of October, with 12.5%-protein wheat for free-on-board (FOB) delivery in early November down $5 to $230 a ton.

Analysts say Russian wheat exports in October will fall considerably due to weak demand from major importers and informal government restrictions.

The Sovecon agriculture consultancy estimated Russian wheat exports in October at 3.9-4.4mn tonnes, down from 5mn in September and 4.5mn in October last year, Hellenic Shipping News reports. IKAR forecast wheat exports in October at 4.5mn tonnes, down from 5.4mn last month and 4.7mn in October 2022.

The European Union’s crop monitoring service said Kazakhstan will harvest 12.3mn metric tonnes of wheat this year, down 25% from a bumper 2022 crop, due to extreme weather conditions this year.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) pegged the US wheat ending stocks for the marketing year of 2023/2024 at 615mn bushels, above the trade's expectation of 595mn bushels.