Russia returned to prominence in wheat orders by grain
officials in Egypt, the top importing country, as they made their biggest order
of 2013, and their second in four days.
Egypt's Gasc grain authority purchased 355,000 tonnes of
wheat, the biggest order since a 400,000-tonne deal in December, at a cost of
$94m, including shipping.
The order took its total in the first two months of the
2013-14 marketing year to 1.73m tonnes, at a cost of $457m, all ordered from
Black Sea exporters.
This time, however, the balance between the origins shifted,
with Gasc purchasing 180,000 tonnes from Russia – historically an important
source, but which had won a relatively low level of orders so far.
'Wish to boost
Russian wheat's increased showing reflected a small decrease
in prices, from the last tender on Wednesday, which gained it an edge over
supplies from neighbouring Ukraine.
Russian prices have been supported by a harvest which, while
recovering strongly from 2012's drought-hit levels, has fallen short of initial
expectations, with late rains in some areas affecting quality too, as
highlighted by farm operators Agrokultura and Black Earth Farming.
However, analysis SovEcon last week flagged a fall of some
$2 a tonne in prices, "likely to be caused by traders' wish to boost the
competitiveness of Russian wheat".
Gasc has now purchased 480,000 tonnes of Russian wheat in
2012-13, 530,000 tonnes of Ukrainian supplies and 720,000 tonnes of Romanian.
Other origins have yet to feature, including France, from
which wheat was offered at $263 a tonne, some $10 a tonne out of the running,
excluding shipping charges.