January sees price boost for grain

Russian wheat tax, USDA report bolster grain prices

ON A ROLL: Grain prices have kicked in January.

ON A ROLL: Grain prices have kicked in January.


Grain prices have risen strongly through January, with concerns over a Russian wheat tax and world stocks front of mind.


THERE has been a pleasant bonus for grain growers with unsold grain returning after summer holidays.

A combination of international concern about an increase in the Russian wheat export tax and a bullish US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report cutting global corn stocks, which in turn increased demand for wheat, has seen prices rise over January.

Prices for APW quality wheat vary between $280-330 a tonne, with prices in Victoria cheaper, ranging up to dearer values in Queensland, around $315/t and WA, $330/t.

The momentum has slowed slightly this week, with Commonwealth Bank analyst Tobin Gorey reporting macro-economic events dragging grain markets lower across the globe on Monday.

Crucially, however, he said there had been no fundamental shift in world grain markets that would lead to a reason to believe the falls would continue.

"Pricing (supplies) means moving prices from one level to another, not continuously rallying," Mr Gorey said.

The Russian tax, currently set at $A40 a tonne from February 15 to June 30, has been set up by the Russian government to protect domestic supplies.

Wire reports have suggested the Russian government remains nervous about supplies and that there is talk of further increasing the tax, which would be supportive for Australian values.

In the other major driver on markets, the USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) has forecast tightening supplies, particular on the back of lower corn stocks and yields, with sharp cuts to estimated US corn yields.

Wheat ending stocks were also lower, but the market was more concerned with the news out of the corn sector, which sent prices higher in a demand rationing process.

Meanwhile, there has also been good news in the barley sector, with Australian winning the majority of the 660,000 tonne Saudi Arabian barley tender that was processed this week.

Values for the tender are estimated to have risen around $40 a tonne since the last one, reflecting world values.

Australian barley, especially out of Western Australia, is price competitive into Saudi Arabia at present compared to rival exporters.


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