Russia says to cut wheat export quota to 8 million tonnes

MOSCOW, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Russia plans to set its wheat export quota at 8 million tonnes, the country's economy ministry said on Friday, marking a 1 million tonne reduction from a previously planned level.

Supplies from Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, are down this marketing season, with Moscow concerned to secure domestic supply and curb growth in domestic prices as it faces near six-year high inflation. read more

The quota for Feb. 15 to June 30, 2022 is planned at 11 million tonnes of grain, including 8 million tonnes of wheat, the ministry said in the statement, confirming details contained in a Reuters source-based report on Wednesday.

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It was initially planned at 14 million tonnes, including 9 million tonnes of wheat. For the same period of 2021, the grain quota was at 17.5 million tonnes. There was no separate limit for the size of wheat exports in 2021.

The size of the wheat quota is smaller than previously expected but is still close to the country's exportable surplus for the period, a Russia-focused grain trader told Reuters.

Russian wheat exports are down by 37.5% since the start of the 2021/22 marketing season on July 1, owing to a smaller crop and the export tax that will rise to $94.0 a tonne from Dec. 22.

Russia may change a formula it uses to calculate this tax in case global prices rise to $400 per tonne, its agriculture ministry said in November. Russian wheat with 12.5% protein loading from Black Sea ports was at $334 a tonne last week.

The economy ministry repeated on Friday that the mechanism for Russia's formula-based grain export tax would be fine-tuned to further protect the domestic market in case of sharp global price growth.

It did not provide further details.

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Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; Writing by Polina Devitt; Editing by Alison Williams and Alexander Smith

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