Russia Plans to Increase Grain Sales From State Stocks

Russia, the world’s third biggest wheat exporter last season, will increase grain sales from stockpiles in the European part of the country next week, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

More than 1.5 million metric tons of state grain has been sold since sales began on Oct. 23, he said at a government grain meeting on the outskirts of Moscow today. The cereal came from silos in the Asian part of the country.

The government has been selling state grain in an attempt to reduce domestic prices and ensure there’s enough for millers and livestock farms after drought in 2012 curbed production. Russia harvested 70.7 million tons of grain in 2012-13, 25 percent less than the year-earlier period, according to state statistics.

Russia expects to have 7.7 million tons of carryover stocks, suggesting a 2.3 million ton shortfall, by the start of the new season on July 1, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov said at the meeting today. At least 10 million tons of stockpiles are needed to ensure sufficient supplies for the coming year. That compares with 19.4 million tons carried over in the year-earlier period.

To date, Russia’s exported 13.5 million tons of grains, Fedorov said. Shipments are expected to reach 14.8 million tons this marketing year, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

About 500,000 tons of grain, 1.5 times more than a year earlier, was imported in the July through December period, Fedorov said. Another 800,000 tons may be shipped to the country by the end of the season on June 30, he said.

The Agriculture Ministry is discussing the possibility of canceling the country’s 5 percent import duty on grains with Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, Fedorov said.

If the cancellation is approved it could be positive for the domestic grain market, Dvorkovich said.

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