Russian exporters gamble on wheat as crop threat persists

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Wheat Food and agriculture organization Fao

Russian traders are buying stocks of wheat at well above export
prices in a bid to capitalise on a potential surge in prices,
following a difficult summer for European grain production.

In a report published by Reuters it is claimed that increased demand from Asian buyers is expected to push costs higher as stocks are threatened by the summer's heat wave.

Rupert Somerscale of the international Grains Council (IGC) concurs that "There has definitely been a steady rise" in the value of wheat from the beginning of the year."

In January the cost for a tonne of free-on-board Black sea-origin wheat stated at around €100, which had rose by March to €120 per tonne where is has since remained around the same level due to "the hot dry conditions experienced"​.

With both the quality and amount of wheat produced throughout Europe being affected by the adverse climate, it is uncertain as what direction the market will take.According to a report by The Food and Agriculture organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the world wheat production will undergo a ten million tonne decline throughout the year.

"Against this background and even barring any major or unexpected weather problems in the coming months, wheat prices are likely to remain generally high and volatile into the new season;"​ it added.

Despite accepting that the heat wave had affected wheat values, Dr Heinrich Hockman, of the Liebniz Institute of Agricultural Development is not convinced that we will see any dramatic surges in the prices of wheat. "European markets particularly in the East with countries like Poland which have been badly affected, are relatively small markets to the rest of the world."

While figures suggest that the harvest in some countries could be reduced by up to 30 per cent, Dr Hockman does not see that stocks of wheat are in any serious danger. "Prices on world markets always experience periods of high prices, before usually following into periods of relatively lower prices."

The prediction certainly seems to match current trends in the wheat market, with the FAO forecast for the year with prices expected either to remain stable or fall.

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