Russia continues to export grain but export ban is proposed

Gregor Heard
By Gregor Heard
March 23 2022 - 7:00pm
STILL MOVING: Grain exports are still flowing out of Russia but the market believes this may soon change.

IN SPITE of the conflict with Ukraine grain continues to flow out of Russia in substantial volumes, but the world trade is wondering whether current volumes will soon start to dwindle due to both Russian internal and international pressure.

In spite of sanctions from much of Europe and the US, Russia is still moving significant amounts of grain to buyers desperate to keep food inflation in check, however a combination of international pressure on trading houses and internal concerns are likely to put the brakes on the export program of the world's largest wheat exporter.

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Last week Reuters reported that Russia has temporary banned grain exports to a number of Eurasian countries that were former members of the Soviet Union until June 30.

Russian officials confirmed the decision, which impacts wheat, maize, rye and barley, was done to shore up domestic food security in the wake of government sanctions after concerns about the quick export pace to the former Soviet nations, which have special customs-free trade arrangements under the Eurasian Economic Union, with consignments not subject to Russian export quotas and taxes.

However, grain will still move to the neighbouring countries for now, with special export licences to nominated traders within current quotas Reuters said.

Commonwealth Bank commodity analyst Tobin Gorey said he was watching what pressure would be put on international traders.

"Several trading companies have made the case that their shipping grain from Russia should be continued for humanitarian reasons and possibly that is true," Mr Gorey said.

"Yet those companies are already being persuaded and coaxed to bring that trade to a halt and should that not work, we suspect the companies will then be admonished and cajoled to stop."

Russia's export quota is currently set at 11 million tonnes of grain, including 8 million tonnes of wheat from February 15 to June 30.

IKAR, a Russian grain forecaster, said recently it expected Russian wheat exports for March to exceed 2m tonnes, demonstrating while many countries are not buying Russian wheat many are still prepared to.

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Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

National Grains Industry Reporter

Gregor Heard is Fairfax Ag Media's national grains industry reporter, based in Horsham, Victoria. He has a wealth of knowledge surrounding the cropping sector through his ten years in the role. Prior to that he was with the Fairfax network as a reporter with Stock & Land. Some of the major issues he has reported on during his time with the company include the deregulation of the export wheat market, the introduction of genetically modified crops and the fight to protect growers better from grain trader insolvencies. Still involved with the family farm he is passionate about rural Australia and its people and hopes to use his role to act as an advocate for those involved in the grain sector. Away from work, he is a keen traveller, having spent his long service leave last year in Spain learning the language.

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