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Prices of wheat under downward seasonal pressure

14/07/2020

In the exporting countries of the subregion, export prices of milling wheat decreased in June, with the start of the 2020 winter harvests and mirroring trends in the international market. Export prices, however, remained at levels above those a year earlier, particularly in Kazakhstan, mainly due to a reduced output last year, which contributed to keep prices higher than in June 2019 also in the domestic market. In Ukraine and the Russian Federation, wholesale prices of wheat and wheat flour remained broadly unchanged in June, mostly on account of slow farmer selling. In the importing countries of the subregion, prices of wheat flour followed mixed trends in June, but prices remained generally above their levels a year earlier. In Kyrgyzstan, prices started showing signs of seasonal declines, with the 2020 output forecast to recover from last year’s reduced volume. Similarly, in Tajikistan, prices decreased in most markets in June, with the beginning of the winter wheat harvest and the easing of the COVID-19 restrictive measures. In Armenia, prices of first grade wheat flour also eased in June, while those of high quality wheat flour strengthened further. The Government recently approved a State support programme to bolster winter wheat yields by easing farmers’ access to high quality seeds. By contrast, in Georgia, prices increased slightly in June, despite the start of the new harvest, due to expectations of a year-on-year decline in output (GIEWS Country Brief) and strong consumer demand. Amid adequate domestic supplies, prices remained virtually unchanged in Azerbaijan in May, while they decreased in Belarus to levels below those a year earlier. With regard to potatoes, another staple food in the subregion, prices continued to increase seasonally and declined in the countries where the new harvests have begun. Prices increased in Kazakhstan and in the Russian Federation. By contrast, prices dropped significantly in Georgia and Armenia to levels below those in June last year. Prices declines were also recorded in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, although they remained at levels above those a year earlier, after the sharp increases in the first quarter of 2020, underpinned by reduced market availabilities amid stronger demand on concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. Prices of potatoes decreased in Azerbaijan in May, while they increased seasonally in Belarus.