RUSSIA – The Russian government has extended the zero rate for the wheat export duty to July 1, 2021.

According to Russia’s Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev, there were no reasons to abolish the zero-duty rate on wheat exports while the situation on the market was stable.

The decision solidifies Russia’s position as the global leading agriculture export market by facilitating the export of produce of the agro-industrial sector.

Russia introduced the wheat export duty on July 1, 2015 but the zero duty was established on September 23, 2016 and was valid until July 1, 2018 with a subsequent extension until July 1, 2019.

This was conditioned by higher activity of the exporters boosting grain sales on international markets and attempting to gain from the dramatic ruble decline.

This move comes as the transcontinental country is seeking to boost agricultural exports and according to President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s agricultural exports are expected to double, reaching US$45 billion in the next five years.

In 2016, Russia became the world leader in wheat exports and the country’s share of the global wheat market has quadrupled since the early 2000s.

Overall, Russian agricultural production surged by 20% over the past five years.

Meanwhile, recent forecasts from IKAR and SovEkon have forecast a decline in Russian wheat exports.

IKAR figures lowered Russia’s wheat export outlook by 500,000 tonnes to 36.5 million tonnes, and total grain exports by 1.4 million tonnes to 46 million tonnes while SovEkon revised wheat export outlook down by 600,000 to 37.6 million tonnes.

Total wheat exports are expected to surpass the 34.2 million tonnes exported in 2018.

Estimates show that Ukraine could surpass Russia in exports as it is on track to export 49 million tonnes of grain this season.