Russia Targets 34% Larger Grain Harvest and Steady Exports

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Russia, the world’s third-biggest wheat exporter in 2011-12, targeted a 34 percent jump in the grain harvest that starts July 1 and little change in exports. The government will also consider ending a grain import duty.

Production may be 95 million metric tons in the 2013-14 marketing year and exports at least 15 million tons, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov said in Moscow today. The harvest shrank 25 percent a year earlier to 70.7 million tons because of drought with exports estimated at 14.8 million tons, according to government data.

“Exports may not grow as high as grain output because we see low carryoverstocks, and part of the new crop will be used to restore these stocks,” Andrei Sizov Jr., managing director of researcher SovEcon in Moscow, said by phone. Fedorov didn’t say why exports may lag growth in the harvest.

The condition of Russia’s winter crops is “moderately satisfactory,” Fedorov said. The total sowing area will be 3.1 percent lower than a year earlier, he said.

“We haven’t lost that much for now,” said Dmitry Rylko, director of the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies, at a conference in Moscow today. Ikar’s estimate for the new harvest is at best 92 million tons, he said.

Russia will consider abolishing a 5 percent grain import duty, Fedorov said. “This is a subject of possible further bargaining,” Fedorov said today.

Wheat for March delivery fell 0.9 percent to $7.7975 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade by 10:01 local time.

To contact the reporters on this story: Marina Sysoyeva in Moscow at msysoyeva@bloomberg.net; Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at iarkhipov@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net