Russia eyes recovery from drought and return to exports in 2013

There are concerns over Russia’s grain export volumes if the country harvests a modest crop this year, Deputy Agriculture Minister Ilya Shestakov said. Feb. 28.

Russia’s officials are targeting an ambitious harvest of 95 million tonnes this year, after last year’s 71 million tonnes when the country was hit by drought.

“If the harvest will be below (95 million tonnes), in this case risks of excessive export will start to increase,” Shestakov told a grain conference in the Siberian city of Belokurikha.

He did not say whether the government would need to consider export restrictions in such a case.

In this current marketing year, which lasts until July 1, Russia is expected to export 14.8 million tonnes of grain, of which 13.7 million tonnes have already been shipped, Shestakov said.

The drought has slashed Russia’s harvest and stocks, sent domestic grain prices to record highs and forced the country, one of the world’s key exporters, to import more to cover domestic demand.

Russia’s 2012-13 grain imports are expected to reach 1.2 million tonnes, of which 0.6 million tonnes have already been imported, mainly from Kazakhstan, since July 1, Shestakov added.

About 88 per cent of Russia’s winter grain crops are in a good state as of Feb. 18, while the multi-year average is about 90 per cent, Shestakov added.

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