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Strong demand spurs Russian wheat and barley prices

MOSCOW, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Russian wheat and barley export prices rose last week amid strong demand from buyers including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, analysts said on Monday.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and October delivery were at $193 a tonne on a free-on-board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, up $2 from a week earlier, agriculture consultancy IKAR said.

Egypt, the world's top wheat importer and the largest buyer of Russian wheat, agreed to purchase 180,000 tonnes of Russian wheat in a state tender on Oct. 3.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, said barley prices climbed $2.5 to $189.5 per tonne. Saudi Arabia, one of the world's largest barley importers, bought 540,000 tonnes of feed barley in a state tender on Oct. 2.

As of Oct. 4, Russia had exported 12.5 million tonnes of grain since the start of the 2017/18 marketing season on July 1, up 20 percent from a year earlier. Wheat exports were up 12 percent at 9.6 million tonnes.

As of Oct. 5, Russian farmers had harvested 127.6 million tonnes of grain, before drying and cleaning, from 90 percent of the total area.

Farmers have also sown winter grains for next year's crop on 83 percent of the planned area, or on 14.5 million hectares, compared with 12.9 million hectares by the same date a year ago, the ministry said.

The fast pace of sowing in the southern regions is due to dry weather, while it is close to last year's pace in other regions, SovEcon said. In general, it said sowing conditions are worse than a year ago due to a lack of rain in recent months, which could hinder crop development.

Domestic prices for third-class and fourth-class wheat were up 25 roubles at 8,175 roubles ($140) and 7,375 roubles a tonne, respectively, in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis, according to SovEcon. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

Many farmers have already earned enough revenue to repay upcoming loans and to finish winter grains sowing, and could start reducing offers in the coming months, SovEcon said.

Russian sunflower seed prices were down 250 roubles at 17,150 roubles per tonne as the new crop hit the market, SovEcon said, while domestic sunflower oil prices were flat at 43,825 roubles and export oil prices remained at $755 per tonne.

IKAR's white sugar price index for southern Russia fell $12 to $433 a tonne as of Oct. 6. ($1 = 58.3300 roubles) (Reporting by Polina Devitt and Olga Popova; Editing by Susan Fenton)