April 3, 2008


Russia may surpass US wheat exports



Russia and southern neighbours could export more wheat than the US, the world's largest exporter, by expanding wheat acreage, traders and analysts said.


Russia with neighbors Kazakhstan and Ukraine could export 26 to 28 million tonnes in 2008/2009, overtaking the US.


Dmitry Rylko, general director of the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies, said Tuesday that the region could beat the US with more crops and stronger production.


In 2006/2007, the US exported about 25 million tonnes of wheat, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations estimated.


Rylko projects Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan's exports for 2007/2008 to be around 21.5 million tonnes.


Wheat has hit record high prices due to drought, rising food demand and increased use of grains for environmentally friendly biofuels.


Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan have restricted exports to curb inflation.


Russia's wheat export tariff of 40 percent is set to expire on July 1, before next year's harvest.


Russia's sowing area for the 2008 grain crop is expected to rise by 1.9 million hectares, including 31 million to be sown with spring grains.


Andrey Slepnev, Russia's deputy agriculture minister, said the country planned to add 18 million hectares to crop production.

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