Russia temporarily limits sugar, grain exports

Russia is the world's largest wheat exporter with Egypt and Turkey among the main buyers. PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Russia's prime minister on Monday (March 14) signed a decree banning the export of white and raw sugar until Aug 31, and banning wheat, rye, barley and maize exports to neighbouring Eurasian Economic Union states until June 30, a government statement said.

Russia is the world's largest wheat exporter with Egypt and Turkey among the main buyers. It competes mainly with the European Union and Ukraine.

"Export of grain within the quota under individual licences will be allowed," Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko said on social media earlier on Monday, adding that the temporary ban was needed to secure grain for domestic consumers.

Moscow last week voiced concern about the quick pace of its grain exports to neighbouring ex-Soviet countries, with which it shares free customs zones under the Eurasian Economic Union.

Supplies to the union are not subject to Russia's grain export quotas and current taxes.

European wheat prices rose on Monday after Interfax news agency reported that Russia would ban grain exports until June 30, citing the agriculture ministry.

Russian wheat exports are down by 45 per cent since the start of the current July-June marketing season because of a smaller crop, grain export taxes, and the export quota set at 11 million tonnes of grain, including 8 million tonnes of wheat, for Feb 15 - June 30.

The country still has 6 million to 6.5 million tonnes of wheat to export until June 30, Dmitry Rylko, head of the IKAR agriculture consultancy, said.

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