Tight supply forces Russian grain export slowdown


Russia’s grain exports have started to show the first signs of a slowdown since quality concerns over this year’s crop pushed prices to five-year highs, data from the agriculture ministry showed Monday.

Weekly grain exports dropped from over 1.4 million mt last week to 914,000 mt in the week to August 13, according to agriculture ministry data.

While the quick pace of exports at the start of the marketing year has meant volumes remain 55% higher than where they were 12 months ago, the gap with previous years continues to narrow.

Total grain exports now stand at 5.65 million mt.

Hot, dry weather during the wheat crop’s development cut yields back significantly, while rains during the later stages of development affected its quality and left much of it unsuited to human consumption.

Wheat exports showed the biggest fall in volume terms over the week, with exports down a third from last week to 832,000 mt.

Total wheat exports now stand at 4.63 million mt, which is 92% higher than at the same stage last year, although this has dropped back from 222% just a fortnight ago.

Line up data from Russian ports seen by Agricensus has shown the number of vessels loading or waiting to be loaded in Black Sea ports shrink since the start of the marketing year.

Tight milling wheat supply has left counterparts washing out previously agreed deals because they cannot secure enough wheat from the domestic market, while the number of new trades in the cash market has slowed to a trickle.

And it is not just wheat that has shown signs of slowing down, with this year’s barley crop suffering similarly to wheat.

Barley, which has also seen prices spike since the start of the marketing year, had exports fall by two-thirds week-on-week to just 42,000 mt– one of the lowest weekly totals in more than a year.

Total barley exports since July 1 now stand at 683,000 mt, which is 12% lower than at the same stage last year.

Corn exports, which are yet to kick off properly before harvest gets underway in the coming weeks, were up 31,000 mt last week to leave total exports at 288,000 mt – 35% lower than at this stage last year.


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