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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia to Sell Barley From 1993 Crop

Russia wants to sell surplus barley due to declining domestic demand and stocks carried over from last year, Alexander Belik, president of Russia's main grain trading firm, Exportkhleb, said Tuesday.

"There are some resources, quality is normal and there is interest in selling," he said in response to a question about Russia's export potential. He said Russian federal and regional grain purchases from domestic farmers this year were focusing on milling wheat.

Another grain trade source, Andrei Sizov of the SovEcon Ltd. research firm, said Russia might have 15 million tons of barley in stock, including 7 million to 9 million tons of 1993 crop.

"Stocks have risen sharply and it will be very difficult to sell these stocks in Russia because of the reduction in livestock numbers," he said.

Cattle herds have dropped by 9 percent in Russia this year as farmers are unable to afford high feed and other costs. Consumption of mixed feed has fallen as a result, Belik said.

Asked about export business so far this year with countries outside the former Soviet Union, the Exportkhleb chief said: "We are working on these questions." He said there had been no direct sales to Saudi Arabia, which along with Iran is a major barley importer.

Other trade sources said they had heard rumors of a shipment of 200,000 to 300,000 tons of Russian barley to Saudi Arabia. One said the barley might go through Finland under a barter deal.

"I understand there have been attempts to export feed barley. There was one attempt to sell barley to Finland for Saudi Arabia, but I cannot say if the sale actually took place," the source said.

SovEcon, which specializes in agricultural trade and production in the CIS, estimated this year's total Russian barley output at 26 million tons, little changed from 26.6 million last year.

This year's federal and regional purchases of barley totaled only 1.8 million tons by mid-December, down from 5 million to 6 million at the same time last year, SovEcon's Sizov said.