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Russia could suspend grain exports next month if export quota is reached

Russia could suspend grain exports next month if export quota is reached
Russian grain exports may reach the limits introduced by the government much ahead of schedule, bringing the shipments to a temporary halt till the end of June, the country’s agriculture ministry has said.

“The quota was introduced for the period from April 1 to June 30, 2020. After it is depleted, the supplies outside the Eurasian Economic Union will be stopped for this period,” Deputy Agriculture Minister Oksana Lut said on Friday.

Given the current pace, exports will be suspended in mid-May, the official said. As of Saturday, less than 4.2 million tons of grain remained available from the 7-million-ton cap. 

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The deputy minister added that exceptions will not be made for any companies.

Moscow introduced the restrictions at the end of March in order to secure the domestic food market in the “current economic conditions” amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to the government decree, exports of wheat and meslin, rye, barley, and corn (except for grain seeds) should not exceed 7 million tons. However, the measures do not apply for member states of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

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Russia is the world’s biggest exporter of wheat, delivering more than 35 million tons to the global market in 2018-19. If the quota is reached before July, it will be the first time grain exports have been suspended by Moscow since 2010, when the country faced a severe drought that could have led to a sharp rise in food prices.

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