Russia moves to reassert control over grain exports with new body


Russia’s government has moved to further tighten its control over grain exports, announcing that a new trade body is to be set up in the coming months to coordinate information sharing between the state and private sellers.

The announcement comes following a meeting between the ministry and exporters on Monday.

“We need to understand the general trends, the general demands of the market, which is why it is necessary to form a strong association that will represent the interests of the main exporters… (It) will be created closer to April of this year,” Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev said.

While details were scant on what shape the new body will take, Patrushev was quoted urging industry participation in setting the organisation up.

It is the latest step in a major shakeup for the Russian grain export industry this year, with the state taking a more assertive role in managing the industry after overseas sales surged despite a smaller crop.

Fearing a threat to domestic bread prices and wider inflation, authorities stepped up port inspections and started to meet regularly with exporters to keep tabs on the pace of sales.

Trade sources were initially confused by the logic behind creating a new exporters’ body when asked Monday.

“Let them do what they want, (but) there are already two such unions,” a Russian grain exporter told Agricensus, referring to the Russian Grain Union (RZS) and the National Association of Exporters of Agricultural Products (NAESP).

Separately, the agriculture ministry reiterated its expectation of 2018/19 marketing year grain exports at 42 million mt, with wheat at 37 million mt.

Russia has exported 32.6 million mt of grain since the start of the marketing year in July, 3% higher than at the same stage last year, while wheat exports are up 11% at 27.3 million mt.



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