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Russia to pay subsidies to grain exporters

The Russian government will pay subsidies to grain exporters selected on a tender basis in order to guarantee exports of 10 million tonnes in the first half of 2009, the Agriculture Ministry said Dec. 3.

“The subsidies will be offered on a tender basis to market players who will buy grain from producers on an exchange at a price no lower than 4,000 rubles (US$142. 80) per tonne of fourth-grain wheat,” Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev was quoted as saying in a statement from the ministry.

First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov has said the government planned to spend 10 billion rubles (US$357 million) on grain export subsidies to support producers who were incurring losses due to low world prices.

It was not immediately clear at which exchanges the grain would be bought.

The government currently is the sole buyer on the main grain-trading exchange, the National Mercantile Exchange (NAMEX), which operates through various regional exchanges.

The ministry’s statement did not provide any details on the subsidy amounts and the ministry press office declined to give further information.

Russia’s official estimate of its grain harvest this year is more than 100 million tonnes, the biggest crop in the last 15 years. The government has already bought more than two million tonnes of grain at intervention tenders.

Russia officially expects to export 20 million to 25 million tonnes of grain this season, Gordeyev has said.



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