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Regional Roundups


CIS (Asian & European)

Export prices of wheat increased again in October


In the exporting countries of the subregion, export prices of milling quality wheat increased again in October after a decline in September. In the Russian Federation and Ukraine, the recent increase was triggered by strong export sales, which together with the reduced outputs in 2018, sustained prices at about 20 percent above their levels a year earlier. In Kazakhstan, export prices of wheat increased slightly in October despite the recent completion of the main spring harvest, mainly due to concerns over crop quality because of excessive soil moisture. In the domestic market, prices of wheat in the Russian Federation and Ukraine increased seasonally in October, with further support provided by the strong demand for exports, and were higher than a year earlier. In the importing countries of the subregion, retail prices of wheat flour strengthened somewhat or held steady in October as a result of adequate domestic supplies and relatively stable export prices from Kazakhstan, the main supplier of wheat grain and wheat flour in the subregion. In Kyrgyzstan, retail prices of wheat flour remained stable or firmed up in some markets in October but were still close to their values a year earlier on account of good supplies from imports and domestic output. In Georgia, prices remained virtually unchanged, but above their levels in October last year, mainly reflecting a year-on-year weaker local currency given the country’s heavy dependency on imports. Similarly, in Armenia, prices of wheat flour held steady in October, despite the recent completion of the 2018 harvest, due to a reduced output (GIEWS Country Brief). Prices, however, remained down on a yearly basis. By contrast, in Belarus, prices of wheat flour increased for the third consecutive month in September and were higher than a year earlier mainly on account of a weaker local currency. Prices increased also in Tajikistan in September, supported by a sharp drop in the 2018 output (GIEWS Country Brief), while in Azerbaijan, the increase in prices of local wheat flour was in line with seasonal trends. With respect to potatoes, another staple food in the subregion, prices continued to decrease seasonally in most countries of the subregion. In Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, prices declined in October and were lower than their year-earlier levels. Prices decreased also in the Russian Federation but remained slightly up from a year earlier. Similarly, in Belarus, prices declined sharply in September but were above the corresponding month last year. By contrast, in Tajikistan and Azerbaijan, prices of potatoes increased in September but were still below their levels in the previous year.