Russia looks for return to normal harvests

Reuters / Russia, one of the world’s key wheat exporters, will be able to increase its 2013 grain harvest by 34 per cent, year on year, if the weather is favourable, the head of Russia’s grain union told reporters.

Russia, historically the No. 3 global wheat exporter, was hit by drought last year which slashed its wheat harvest by one-third and depleted stocks.

“About 95 million tonnes or more can be achieved if the weather is good,” Arkady Zlochevsky, the head of the union said in Moscow March 7.

His forecast matches a government target also set at 95 million tonnes. The country has to harvest this amount of grain in 2013 to cover domestic demand, replenish stocks and have enough for export, officials said previously. Russia harvested 71 million tonnes of grain in 2012.

Russia’s 2013-14 exportable surplus is expected at about 20 million tonnes, up from this year’s forecast of 14.8 million tonnes, Zlochevsky added.

The new marketing year starts on July 1 by which time carry-over stocks will have declined to 11 million to 13 million tonnes, down from 19 million seen a year ago, he said.

If bad weather again hurts Russia’s crops, the harvest may fall to 87 million to 88 million tonnes, he said.

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