Russian weekly wheat exports recover to 1 million tonnes

As weather conditions improve, Russian ports resume normal pace

After weather conditions returned to normal, southern Russian ports resumed a normal pace of operation in the week ending March 8, Fastmarkets Agriculture analysis of Black Sea port line-up data shows.

Stormy weather conditions during February in four main Russian deep-sea ports, Novorossiysk, Kavkaz, Taman, and Tuapse, which account for about 80% of sea shipments, temporarily limited the loading of grain and slowed down exports.

In February 2023, due to storms and precipitation, exports did not come close to last month’s record of 4 million tonnes, as local analysts expected, and amounted to only 2.8 million tonnes, although this is still 48% higher than last year.

However, after an unsuccessful February due to poor weather conditions, March may show a record for the export of Russian wheat.

Local analysts expect the export pace to return to record levels in March 2023 – up to 4.35 million tonnes (the previous record was set in March 2018 – 3.58 million tonnes).

During the reporting week, exports reached 1.1 million tonnes, while Egypt and Turkey took half of the volume – with 285,000 tonnes and 204,081 tonnes, respectively – along with volumes shipped to Kenya (117,500 tonnes), Pakistan (101,030 tonnes), Algeria (88,600 tonnes) and Yemen (83,850 tonnes).

The smaller consignments were sent to Libya (65,000 tonnes), Tanzania (50,000 tonnes), Syria (30,000 tonnes), Tunisia (27,500 tonnes) and Greece (13,000 tonnes).

Exports gaining pace

Furthermore, port line-up data showed about 2.3 million tonnes of Russian wheat currently loading and set to sail.

The data does not list any destination for most of the declared volumes of 813,550 tonnes, while Egypt was reported as the destination for 361,000 tonnes of wheat, Turkey for 239,500 tonnes, Sudan for 208,655 tonnes, Saudi Arabia for 139,000 tonnes and Algeria for 118,990 tonnes.

Alongside that, about 60,000 tonnes each were listed as heading to Oman, UAE, Israel, Yemen, Mexico, Tanzania, Nigeria, Iraq and Lebanon.

Line-ups seen by Fastmarkets Agriculture only give shipments via the Black Sea, which have amounted to 27.9 million tonnes since the start of the 2022-23 marketing year in July 2022.

Overall, factoring in all ports and land exports, the volume has reached around 33 million tonnes – an increase of about 25% on last year’s total export figure.

The pace of exports began to exceed the levels of previous seasons only in October 2022, which allowed local analysts to raise the forecast for wheat exports to a record 46 million tonnes.

This is higher than the previous record in the 2017-18 season, which amounted to 42 million tonnes.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) maintained its forecast for wheat exports from Russia in the current marketing year from July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023 at 43.5 million tonnes, according to the ministry’s March report.

Nevertheless, the US Department of Agriculture left the forecast for the wheat harvest in Russia in 2022 unchanged at 92 million, while according to Rosstat, this amounted to 104.4 million tonnes.

For more information on the current wheat market, take a look at our dedicated page for wheat price forecasts.

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