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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Grain Shipments Up on Fear of Export Curbs

The country's grain suppliers, wary of possible government intervention in the fall, are stepping up immediate wheat shipments in anticipation of export limits and intervention sales as Moscow seeks to curb inflation.

But few are willing to risk selling grain for November and December delivery in case exports are restricted or taxed.

"The export market is really interesting right now, but there are enormous risks that you could buy grain and then find it receives an export tariff that makes it unprofitable on the world market," a Moscow-based grain trader said.

He said an export tariff of about 100 euros ($137) was being discussed as a possibility, although officials said no decision had been made yet.

A working group comprising the country's main grain lobby, traders and the government will meet Sept. 13 to discuss whether to introduce export limits or tariffs and the timetable for any sale of grain from the state's stocks.

"No decision has been made yet, and our perspective will depend on the outlook for the Russian grain crop and world grain markets," Russian Grain Union chief Arkady Zlochevsky said.

"We consider there to be no need to introduce measures before the end of the year. Officials think it could possibly be done earlier," the industry lobby's head said.

A trader who will participate in the Sept. 13 meeting said the government was concerned about meeting an 8 percent inflation target this year, which most analysts say is already out of reach.

"Of course, we will propose that they don't rush it through," he said. "But they are very worried about inflation."

Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref has said the government is considering selling grain from its stocks to help curb inflation ahead of a parliamentary election in December. This would probably be accompanied by export limits of some kind.