Sales of Russian grain surge despite strict export limits due to pandemic crisis

The world’s number one grain exporter, Russia, has boosted year-on-year sales of its wheat abroad by as much as 20 percent, according to the latest report by the country’s agricultural watchdog.

In 2020, exports of grain reportedly surged to 57.5 million tons as of December 27. The agency, controlled by the Russian ministry of agriculture, said that wheat exports of 38.3 million tons topped the list of overall grain sales abroad.

Exports of barley and corn amounted to 6.1 million tons and 3.7 million tons respectively. Sales of oil meals totaled 2.2 million tons, while sunflower seeds – 1.4 million tons.

Russian grains have been exported to 138 countries with Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan among the major buyers.

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Earlier this year, Russia introduced export limits for certain grains, including wheat, rye, barley, and corn for the remainder of the marketing year, which ended June 30.

The step was aimed to protect domestic supply and prevent price hikes amid the economic upheaval from the Covid-19 pandemic and a plunge in oil prices. Russian agricultural consultancy SovEcon lowered its estimate for Russia’s 2020-21 wheat exports from 40.8 million tons to 36.3 million, citing an upcoming grain export quota and wheat export tax that will come into effect from February 15.

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