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Russian wheat prices fall on weaker demand

MOSCOW, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Russian wheat export prices declined last week from the lofty levels they had held for around a month as demand weakened, with the country losing its second major purchasing tender in Egypt, its largest wheat buyer, analysts said on Monday.

Egypt's state grain buyer GASC bought 300,000 tonnes of U.S., French and Ukrainian wheat in a tender last week. Russian wheat was too expensive to be competitive for the second consecutive tender.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content and for delivery in February were $243 a tonne free on board (FOB) at the end of last week, down $2 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note.

SovEcon, another Moscow-based consultancy, pegged FOB barley prices at $232 per tonne, down $1.

The country exported 32.1 million tonnes of grain from the start of the season on July 1 to Feb. 7, up 3 percent year-on-year, according to SovEcon. That included 27.3 million tonnes of wheat, up 11 percent.

The rise in Russian domestic wheat prices has slowed down sharply, SovEcon said. Domestic prices for third-class wheat rose by 150 roubles to 12,500 roubles a tonne at the end of last week in the European part of Russia on an ex-works basis. Ex-works supply does not include delivery costs.

Russia's Agriculture Ministry continued sales of grain from its stockpile last week, when it sold 130,000 tonnes of wheat. It has sold 1.48 million tonnes of grain, including 1.25 million tonnes of wheat, since the start of these sales this marketing year.

Sunflower seed prices rose by 525 roubles to 20,000 roubles a tonne, SovEcon said. Domestic sunflower oil prices rose by 475 roubles to 43,675 roubles a tonne, while export prices increased $10 following a rise in Ukrainian prices and reached $655 a tonne.

IKAR said its white sugar price index for southern Russia was $510.45 a tonne on Feb. 8, down $25 from a week earlier. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Mark Potter)