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Russia gradually resuming wheat exports from Black Sea ports

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Russia is gradually resuming wheat exports from its Black Sea ports while navigation in the Azov Sea remains restricted, analysts said on Monday.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, calling its actions a “special military operation.”

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“Exports are ongoing from all the five Black Sea (grain export) terminals,” IKAR agriculture consultancy said in a note.

Prices for Russian wheat remain extremely volatile, IKAR said, adding that for wheat with 12.5 percent protein content from the Black Sea ports they were at $415 per tonne free on board (FOB) on March 11.

Sovecon, another consultancy, said that Russia’s Black Sea terminals loaded 400,000 tonnes of wheat last week, and that vessels were going in and out of the ports there.

“Full navigation in the Azov Sea is still closed but some vessels are starting to pass through the Kerch Strait (to the Black Sea),” it added.

In the domestic market, Russian farmers started to refuse previously signed contracts amid strong demand from exporters and domestic buyers, Sovecon said.

Russia’s recent decision to suspend grain exports to some ex-Soviet countries is yet to be approved, but, Sovecon said, market participants already report unofficial restrictions for rail supplies of grain from Siberia to Kazakhstan.

According to Sovecon, Ukraine’s current exports are slow and rely on rail transportation with a maximum daily turnover of around 20,000 tonnes of grain.

Russian wheat exports are down by 45.4 percent since the start ofthe 2021/22 marketing season on July 1 because of a smaller crop
and an export tax that had been set at $86.3 a tonne for March 16-22.

A cold snap is expected in several winter wheat-producing regions in Russia this week but thick snow cover will keep sowings safe, Sovecon said.

Read more: European wheat prices hit record high after Ukraine invasion

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