* Continued, reduced Black Sea exports despite thin stocks
* Stocks fall after a smaller harvest
By Pavel Polityuk and Polina Devitt
KIEV/MOSCOW, April 30 Black Sea wheat producers
have enough in stock to keep some exports flowing for the last
two months of the season, keeping pressure on the world market
which had all but written them off.
Ukraine and Russia have almost exhausted their exportable
surplus for the 2012/13 season due to lower harvests last year
and a high pace of shipments in the first half of this season,
due to high foreign demand and lucrative prices, analysts said.
The two, which have already sold abroad more than 20 million
tonnes of wheat this season, can export no more than 1 million
tonnes of the commodity in the remaining two months of the
2012/13 marketing year.
Analysts and traders forecast that Russia, which exported 27
million tonnes of wheat in 2011/12, was likely to export about
250,000-500,000 tonnes of wheat during May and June despite low
Last week, Ukraine, the sixth-largest wheat exporter this
season according to USDA estimates, lifted restrictions on wheat
sales, and analysts estimate the volume of additional exports
will be up to 300,000 tonnes.
Continued Black Sea exports, although severely reduced, are a
headache for competitors.
"Weak EU wheat exports of 237,000 tonnes in the last
reporting week point to growing competition as a result of cheap
supply from the U.S. and the resumption of exports from the
Black Sea region," said Commerzbank in a daily commodities note.
Traders estimated Black Sea wheat was trading at around a
$30 per tonne discount to U.S. soft red wheat on a cost and
freight basis to North Africa.
"The world wheat balance sheet is not as tight as some
people speculated it could have been," said a European trader.
"The only reason the EU sustained an export programme for as
long as it did and the size that it did was because of the
problems in South America with production... and the Black Sea
wouldn't allow anymore exports."
Traders said that North African destinations in need of
imports were likely to hold off until the new crop becomes
available from July.
"Demand is slow because consumers are bearish. They're going
to buy as little as possible until the new crop comes," said a
DROUGHT, EXPORT CAP
Russia was hit by a drought last year that slashed its grain
crop by a quarter and quickly depleted the exportable surplus.
But a domestic price decline helped by sales from government
grain stocks revived its exports a few weeks ago.
Historically the world's number three wheat exporter, Russia
has already exported 15 million tonnes since the start of the
2012/13 season and beaten official forecasts, Dmitry Rylko, the
head of the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR),
Its wheat stocks at procurement and processing companies
were down 38 percent as of April 1 from a year earlier at 6.1
million tonnes, data from the Federal Statistics Service showed.
It did not say how much wheat was being held on farms.
Grain stocks at farms, and procurement and processing
companies, excluding small farms, were down 30 percent at 18
million tonnes as of April 1.
"Traditional Russian importers and may be some small
countries are likely to buy wheat during May and June," Rylko
Ukrainian wheat output fell by 30 percent last year and
worries about potential wheat deficit in 2012/13 forced the
government to cap exports at 6.3 million tonnes.
"Additional exports of wheat in May-June will not reach
500,000 tonnes. Most likely, Ukraine will be able to sell about
300,000 tonnes of wheat in the next two months because demand is
negligible," a major foreign trader said.
He said the exports had already reached 6.5 million tonnes
as of April 26 and would not exceed 6.7-6.8 million tonnes for
the whole season.
"We have almost nothing to sell. Low stocks and high
domestic prices mean that the volume of additional exports could
be between 200,000 and 300,000 tonnes," said Volodymyr Lapa from
Kiev-based UCAB consultancy.
The Agriculture Ministry has estimated additional wheat
exports at up to 400,000 tones - if traders convince farmers to
sell their stocks.
"The figure of 200,000 to 400,000 tonnes of wheat is the
most realistic volume of exports," said Vitaly Sabluk, the head
of the ministry's economic department.
(Additional reporting by Sarah McFarlane in London, editing by