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Russia will issue grain export licenses within quota despite export ban

Russia plans to temporarily ban grain exports but will keep on providing special export licences to traders within its current quota, Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko said on Monday, playing down the global effect of the ban.

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.

Russia’s trade ministry proposed banning the export of white sugar and raw sugar until Aug. 31, as well as wheat, rye, barley and maize until June 30, Abramchenko said on social media.

“Export of grain within the quota under individual licences will be allowed,” Abramchenko said, 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.

The ministry made no mention of the export licenses to Interfax and did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Russian wheat exports are down by 45% 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.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris; Editing by Jan Harvey, Nick Macfie, Jane Merriman and Richard Chang)

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