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9 Apr, 2008 11:13

Russia opens wheat futures market

The first wheat futures contract has traded on the Moscow Commodities Exchange. The new contracts may help stabilise prices and cut risks for wheat producers.

Russia is the world's fourth largest wheat producer, with output of 81 million tonnes last year.

Until now, the price has been set by individual contract. Now producers and consumers can see the price of Russia's key commodities, including wheat and oil, denominated in roubles.
Alexander Potemkin, the President of the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange, says it took them four years to set up the whole system.  

“Now a center with a recognised price for Russian wheat has emerged on the exchange markets map,” he said.

The volatility on the world's wheat market in 2007 reached 32%.

Over the past half-a-year the price in Russia has varied more than 60% – from a minimum of  $US 212 per tonne to a maximum of $US 365.

Analysts say the futures contract should encourage price stabilisation and give an indicative price to producers, consumers and the government.
“The first futures contract prices are lower than the spot price by about 20%. The price of between 6,000 and 7,000 roubles will attract investors into the agricultural sector and will increase the production of wheat,” Russia’s Agriculture Minister, Aleksey Gordeev said.