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Russian wheat sees strength amid global wheat complex turning bullish

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Russian wheat sees strength amid global wheat complex turning bullish

London — Russian 12.5% protein wheat strengthened to its highest level in six weeks Thursday as buyers anticipate firmer global wheat prices.

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S&P Global Platts assessed Russian 12.5% protein wheat at $228.25/mt Thursday, up $2 on the week as buyers returned.

"There has been a lot of hand-to-mouth activity," a source said, explaining that buyers waited too long for prices to get weaker.

In recent weeks, prices have dragged as sellers held on to cargoes looking for a spike in prices despite meager buying interest, especially amid the threat of competitive pricing from global sellers.

But with Argentinian wheat not selling as cheaply as many had predicted due to recent rains, buyers returned to cash in on the recent slump in Russian wheat prices.

Similarly, US wheat has not been selling as cheaply as some expected despite making an appearance at two of Egypt's most recent wheat buy tenders, a phenomenon not usually seen so early in a marketing year.

Australian wheat has also maintained plenty of strength despite being in the midst of a harvest.

"People are waiting for the Australian harvest pressure to hit but it hasn't...perhaps in another two weeks," one source said, adding that severe drought and hot weather had seen the domestic market hold high prices.

Nonetheless, the upside for Russian wheat at present may be limited until Q1 2019 due to the ruble showing weakness against the dollar and hence keeping replacement costs low.

Two weeks ago replacement costs were around $230/mt, now there are around $223-$224/mt.

However, with wheat scarcity set to grow over the course of the marketing year, meaning originating from distances further and further away from port, many market participants see Russian wheat capable of reaching levels at $240-$250/mt.

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

--Edited by James Leech, newsdesk@spglobal.com