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Russia Keeps Grain Crop Forecast, Export Ban Avoided

Russia, the world’s third-biggest wheat exporter last season, maintained its grain-crop forecast and said there is no reason to curb exports in 2012.

The Russian grain crop is forecast at 75 million to 80 million metric tons in the season that started July 1, including 45 million tons of wheat, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov told reporters in Moscow today. There’s no reason to limit overseas shipments this year, although export duties are “theoretically possible” beyond 2012, Dvorkovich said after a government meeting with industry experts.

“I don’t see any scenario under which this can happen this calendar year,” Dvorkovich said, referring to export duties. He added that he doesn’t know what the situation will be in 2013.

Wheat future prices for December delivery have climbed 36 percent this year on the Chicago Board of Trade, as drought curbed production from Russia to the U.S., the world’s biggest wheat exporter. In Australia, the world’s second-biggest shipper, output is being threatened by dry weather, while in India the weakest monsoon in three years may harm crops.

Export Potential

Russia’s export potential for all grains is seen at 10 million tons to 12 million tons for the season started July 1, Dvorkovich said, reiterating the previous estimate. That’s down from last year’s 27.2 million tons, according to ministry data.

Russia has no reason to sell grain from stockpiles to curb domestic prices because they have started to stabilize, Dvorkovich said, adding there may be sales later in the season.

Exports reached 2.07 million tons in July, compared with 2.5 million tons a year earlier, Fedorov said. They may reach about 3 million tons by the end of August, according to estimates yesterday by the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies and Rusagrotrans, the biggest grain rail carrier.

Russia has harvested 37.1 million tons of grains so far, down from 38.7 million tons a year earlier, Fedorov said. Reaping is under way in Siberia this month, and the government will hold another meeting with industry experts in the end of August to review forecasts after new figures from the Siberian harvest, Dvorkovich said.

Russia is seen shipping 11 million tons of wheat in 2012-13, slipping to fifth place among exporters, behind the U.S., Australia, Canada and the European Union, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service in Moscow.

Russia supplied 21.3 million tons of the cereal in 2011-12, making it the world’s third-biggest wheat exporter after the U.S. and Australia, according to USDA data.

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