Russia, the world’s third biggest wheat exporter last season, is slowing grain exports as domestic prices are approaching a peak, said ZAO Rusagrotrans, the country’s biggest grain carrier by rail.
Grain exports declined 21 percent to 12.4 million metric tons from the start of the season on July 1 through Dec. 12, compared with 15.6 million tons a year earlier, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement today.
“Exports are slowing down,” Igor Pavensky, Rusagrotrans’ analytical department head, said by phone in Moscow today. “This is good for Russia, because we are within our exports potential and at the same time have enough grain to satisfy domestic demand.”
High domestic prices have slowed the export pace and will make imports from Kazakhstan reasonable for Russian consumers by the end of January, he said.
Domestic grain prices continued to rise last week due to demand from local millers and feedstuffs producers, the ministry said. Feed wheat rose the most, advancing 3.1 percent to 10,091 rubles ($326) a ton in the European part of Russia last week, it said in a statement.
If prices reach 13,500 rubles a ton in the Moscow and St. Petersburg regions, or the maximum level forecast for the areas, local consumers may start importing grain from further away than Kazakhstan, Pavensky said.
Total imports of grains are estimated at 1.8 million tons, including 900,000 tons of wheat, for the season 2012-13, he said.
Russia may export 1 million tons of grains this month, including 500,000 tons of wheat, 160,000 tons of barley and 260,000 tons of corn, Pavensky estimated. That’s down from 1.6 million tons shipped in November, which included 980,000 tons of wheat and 340,000 tons of barley.
Total exports in the season may reach 10 million tons of wheat, 2.1 million tons of barley and about 2 million tons of corn, he said.
Wheat for March delivery fell 0.6 percent to $8.0325 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade by 7:02 p.m. Moscow time. It’s advanced 23 percent this year.