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Russian wheat hits 47-month high as supply thins out

London β€” Russian deep sea 12.5% protein wheat has soared to its highest in 47 months as length in Russia's southern regions thins out.

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S&P Global Platts assessed prompt loading 12.5% protein wheat at $241.25/mt Thursday, a surge of $3 on the day as bids climbed to catch higher asking prices.

Related article: Russian wheat demand from Turkey to strengthen despite price increases

After Egyptian state grain authority GASC's tender Wednesday, H1 February-loading FOB Handysize offers rose $2 on the day to $242/mt Thursday while bids appeared at $240/mt.

For later loading periods prices were even firmer as sources expect wheat availability to be even thinner due to expectations of wheat demand remaining steady.

"Russia is pricing more business than it can realistically service," a source said, adding: "GASC showed that 11.5% [protein wheat is] becoming much harder to find in Russia."

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The shortage of wheat is also impacting shipowners who are mulling whether to hold out in the Black Sea region or move their vessels elsewhere.

The shortage of cargoes to load in the region saw S&P Global Platts' Nikolaev to Alexandria dry freight route strengthen 50 cents on the day to $17/mt Thursday.

But with fewer spare cargoes to load due to most of the wheat in silos already being committed and availability of excess wheat being low, freight could continue to rise due to shipowners pulling out, source said.

Overall, market participants remain bullish on global wheat prices with expectations of Russian wheat surpassing the $250/mt mark.

March loading is already bid at $245/mt and offered at $248/mt.

--James Colquhoun, james.colquhoun@spglobal.com

--Samuel Eckett, samuel.eckett@spglobal.com

--Edited by Alisdair Bowles, newsdesk@spglobal.com