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333072

Russian wheat exports expected to rise in September

* This content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine

By Polina Devitt

MOSCOW, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Russian wheat exports are expected to rise to 4 million tonnes in September from 3.5 million tonnes in August as the record-high crop begins to reach the market, traders and industry analysts said.

The supplies from the world's largest wheat exporter will still be low compared with September last year as they contend with shipments from Europe and Ukraine, a strong rouble and problems with logistics and payments caused by Western sanctions imposed on Moscow, they added.

Exports from Russia fell by 27% in July-August, the first two months of the 2022/23 marketing season, Sovecon consultancy said. The level is the lowest for these months since 2017/18, it added.

"There is no active demand," a Russia-focused trader said. "Everything is just barely moving."

Another trader expected September wheat exports to be slightly above 4 million tonnes, subject to stronger demand from importers and lower domestic grain prices in Russia. The Middle East and Africa are the main buyers of the Russian wheat.

"Of course, with such large crop and the port infrastructure capacity, it would be possible to make 6 million tonnes a month. But it is purely a question of finding markets. We do not see a rush in demand yet," the trader added.

The resumption of grain supplies from Ukraine's three Black Sea ports in July further reduced demand for Russian exports as the Ukrainian wheat is cheaper.

The IKAR consultancy sees Russian wheat exports at about 4 million tonnes in September, up from estimated 3.6-3.7 million tonnes in August.

"Exports do not look very bright again," Dmitry Rylko, the head of IKAR, said, citing the aftermath of the sanctions, lower crop quality and the strong rouble among the reasons.

Andrey Sizov, the head of Sovecon, said he expected Russian wheat exports at 4-4.5 million tonnes in September vs 4.7 million tonnes a year ago.

The upper end of the estimate could be reached if the Russian domestic price keeps falling, the global price rises and competition from European supplies eases, he added. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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