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Regional Roundups


CIS (Asia & Europe)

Prices of wheat well above year-earlier levels in exporting countries


In the exporting countries of the subregion, export prices of milling wheat in February were more than 20 percent higher than a year earlier due to the large volume of exports during the season and reduced outputs in 2018. In Kazakhstan, prices increased by some 4 percent due to strong demand for exports and reduced availabilities of high quality wheat and, in February, they reached the highest level since August 2015. Similarly, domestic prices of wheat grain and wheat flour strengthened in February and were higher year on year, with the country’s weaker currency contributing to the upward pressure. In the Russian Federation and Ukraine, prices remained relatively stable in February as the upward pressure from tighter availabilities was partially offset by a slowdown in demand, strong competition and overall favourable 2019 production prospects. Prices, however, remained at their highest levels since January 2015. In both countries, domestic prices of wheat grain and wheat flour continued increasing in February to levels more than 20 percent above those a year earlier. In most importing countries of the subregion, retail prices of wheat flour increased slightly or remained stable in February and were generally higher than the corresponding month last year. In Tajikistan, prices strengthened in February and were well above their year-earlier levels, reflecting the country’s weaker currency and the reduced output in 2018. Higher export prices from Kazakhstan, the country’s main supplier, also provided upward pressure. In Georgia, prices of wheat flour remained unchanged in February and at record highs reflecting trends in export prices from the Russian Federation, the main supplier of wheat and wheat flour. In Uzbekistan, prices of wheat flour increased slightly and were well above their year-earlier levels after the sharp increases in late 2018. In Kyrgyzstan, prices remained relatively stable and were close to their year-earlier levels as a result of adequate supplies from the good output last year. In Belarus and Azerbaijan, prices of wheat flour remained also relatively stable in January but were slightly up compared to their values a year earlier. Prices of potatoes, another staple food, showed mixed trends in the subregion but were generally below their levels in February last year with the notable exceptions of the Russian Federation and Belarus, where prices rose seasonally in the past two months and were overall higher than a year earlier. By contrast, in Kazakhstan, Georgia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, prices of potatoes declined or remained unchanged and were well below their values in February last year.