Russia restricts grain export certificates for some countries, trade sources say

Moscow | Reuters — Russia’s Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (VPSS) has restricted grain export certificates for some countries, three trade sources told Reuters.

Russia has been exporting record volumes of wheat this year as a tumble in the rouble makes its grains cheap on world markets. The central bank hiked rates sharply on Monday night to defend the currency but the rouble still suffered its steepest intra-day fall on Tuesday since the 1998 Russian financial crisis.

Egypt, Turkey and Armenia are still allowed to receive Russia’s grain, two of the sources told Reuters.

VPSS spokeswoman Yulia Trofimova said she was not aware of any delays in issuing grain export certificates. VPSS is a branch of the agriculture ministry responsible for certifying grains as fit for export.

Turkey and Egypt are the largest buyers of Russian wheat. One of sources said certificates were also allowed for shipments to India, just visited by Russian President Vladimir Putin but usually itself an exporter.

Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov had earlier on Tuesday said that Russia, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts will be the world’s fourth largest wheat exporter this year, would only use its grain restocking programme to regulate exports.

On Monday he had told Russian news agency TASS in an interview that the VPSS had proposed to stop giving third-party phytosanitary certificates to exporters.

Russia could export 30 million tonnes of grain this 2014-15 marketing year, starting July 1, without hitting domestic supplies, the ministry says. So far the country has exported 19 million tonnes of grain, including 15 million tonnes of wheat.

— Reporting for Reuters by Polina Devitt in Moscow and Sarah McFarlane and Jonathan Saul in London.

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