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CIS Grain Roundup: Russian interventions fail to steady market
Prime-Tass, February 24, 2004
Russia's state intervention sales have failed so far to restrain price rises on the grain market, as few buyers had access to the cheap grain and the volumes involved are small, traders said Tuesday.
The government held its first trading sessions 18-19 February, and the next session will be held 25 February. The government plans to hold three sessions per week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) and the interventions may last until late May.

The intervention stocks amount to 1.6 million tonnes, including 1.3 million tonnes of wheat and about 300,000 tonnes of rye. The volumes were accumulated during state intervention buying in previous years.

Only domestic millers, who are obliged to supply their flour to regional bakers, are allowed to participate.

The government has even considered imposing restrictions on flour exports to prevent traders re-selling abroad the flour produced from intervention grain. But traders say that the volume is too small to have any effect on the market.

During the first day, the government sold 39,715 tonnes of grain, while the second day saw sales at 39,200 tonnes.

Deals were struck, in the majority of cases, merely 10 rubles above the starting price. Only some small-volume deals for the supply of superior wheat from Siberia were concluded 50-500 rubles above the starting prices.

The starting price for superior quality milling wheat (3rd class) were set at 4,400 rubles per tonne, while for inferior quality wheat (4th class) at 3,400 rubles per tonne. The starting price for milling rye has been set at 2,500 rubles per tonne.

Irrespective of the interventions, prices on the open market were up around 100-125 rubles on the week to 6,300-6,400 rubles/tonne for third class milling wheat in south Russia (Krasnodar and Rostov-on-Don). Milling rye prices are at around 5,500 rubles/tonne in central Russia (Orlov), and the prices are expected to keep rising due to low domestic stocks.

Exports of Russia's wheat and rye are reported to be very small in February. Volumes fell in the middle of January, when an additional duty of 25 euros per tonne was imposed. Russian exporters are currently focusing on feed barley exports.

Ukraine continues to seek wheat, buying 120,000 tonnes of US milling wheat with two even shipments due in late February and March. The wheat was bought at USD 242/tonne delivery to domestic elevators. A shipment of around 30,000 tonnes of Argentinean wheat, bought at USD 220/tonne CIF Ukrainian ports, is due to arrive in March as well.

Ukrainian officials expressed hope on Monday that Russia would supply another 30,000 tonnes of wheat next month without charging the 25 euro/tonne duty. Russia signed a contract with Ukraine on the supply of 196,000 tonnes last autumn at USD 110/tonne ex-warehouse, but the shipments have only amounted to 166,000 tonnes so far.

Exports from Kazakhstan remain small due to an unofficial export ban. A small shipment of milling wheat (3rd class) was sold at the Kustanai-based Astyk exchange last week at USD 230/tonne delivery to the Russian-Kazakh border by rail.
MGR Archive 25.2.2004
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