Russia’s December grain exports likely to be lower


Russia’s December grain exports are expected to be lower than in the previous month due to stormy weather at ports in the Black and Azov seas and a strengthening rouble against the dollar, agriculture consultancy SovEcon said. Russia, a major wheat exporter, has failed to speed up grain exports so far this 2016/17 marketing year, which started on July 1, despite a record grain crop.

It is however looking to expand the geographic scope of its grain exports and has significantly boosted supplies to Bangladesh and Morocco so far this year, the consultancy added in a note on Friday. Russia has also resumed supplies to Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand and hopes to restart supplies to Venezuela in early 2017.

SovEcon also said Russia had ramped up wheat supplies to Lebanon and suggested that part of its shipments were then forwarded to Syria. “Wheat supplies (to Lebanon) have already reached 0.55 million tonnes and exceeded total supplies in the previous season,” the consultancy said. “Such large exports to this market are apparently caused by the re-export of a significant part of the supplies to Syria,” it added.

Russia’s grain exports in December will reach between 3.3 million and 3.4 million tonnes, including 2.35-2.45 million tonnes of wheat and 0.6-0.7 million tonnes of maize (corn), SovEcon said. This compares to 4.2 million tonnes of grain in December 2015 and 4.0 million tonnes of grain in November 2016. Russia’s July-December grain exports are expected at 20.8 million tonnes, down from 21.2 million tonnes in the same period a year ago, despite the harvest increasing by 15 million tonnes of grain, according to SovEcon’s estimates. Russia has finished the harvest but officials are yet to announce the size of the crop after drying and cleaning. The Agriculture Ministry estimates the 2016 grain crop at 117 million tonnes.

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