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CIS (Asia & Europe)

Domestic prices of wheat generally stable across the subregion

11/03/2020

After increasing in the previous four months, export prices of milling wheat decreased in the Russian Federation and in Ukraine in February following trends in the international market and a general slowdown in export sales. In both countries, prices were nearly 10 percent below those a year earlier amid good domestic availabilities from the 2019 above-average outputs. By contrast, in Kazakhstan, export prices of milling wheat increased by about 6 percent in February, reaching the highest level since August 2015. The recent increase was underpinned by an uptick in demand from neighbouring countries amid reduced exportable availabilities, following the below-average output last year. In the domestic markets, prices of wheat grain and wheat flour remained stable or increased slightly in all exporting countries. However, while they were generally below their values a year earlier, in the Russian Federation and in Ukraine, retail prices of wheat flour averaged some 30 percent higher than in February last year in Kazakhstan, mainly due to the reduced wheat output last year. In the importing countries of the subregion, retail prices of wheat flour also remained generally stable in February and were higher than a year earlier. In Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, although prices held steady or weakened in February, they were well above their values in February last year, mainly due to higher export quotations from Kazakhstan, the countries’ main wheat supplier. Prices continued strengthening in Georgia and were higher than in February last year, sustained by the past months’ increase in export prices from the Russian Federation and currency depreciation. Similarly, prices of wheat flour strengthened seasonally in Belarus in January and were more than 10 percent above those a year earlier. Prices remained virtually unchanged in Armenia, while they decreased in Azerbaijan amid good supplies from the 2019 harvest (GIEWS Country Brief) and imports, which in 2019 were officially reported to be about 47 percent higher than in 2018. With regard to potatoes, another key staple in the subregion, prices generally increased in February, rising significantly above their year-earlier values in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, but remaining lower year on year in Armenia and the Russian Federation. Prices of potatoes stayed unchanged in Georgia, but at levels above those in February last year due to a reduced volume and lower quality of the crop produced in the past season. In January, prices of potatoes rose seasonally in Belarus, while they decreased in Azerbaijan.