GIEWS Country Brief: The Russian Federation 20-October-2020

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  • Dry weather conditions likely to have negative effects on 2021 winter crops

  • Above-average cereal production obtained in 2020

  • Total cereal exports forecast above average in 2020/21

  • Export prices of wheat increased in September

Dry weather conditions likely to have negative effects on 2021 winter crops

Planting of the 2021 winter crops, mostly wheat and barley, is ongoing under drier‑than‑average weather conditions and the area planned to be sown is officially set at an above‑average level of 19 million hectares. Precipitations were scarce in September and almost absent in the first dekad of October (see satellite image on rainfall anomaly) in the key wheat and barley producing Southern and North Caucasian Federal districts. According to the European Centre for Medium‑Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), in these areas, rainfall amounts are forecast to remain at well below‑average levels until the end of October, with likely negative effects on the establishment and early development of crops.

Above‑average cereal production obtained in 2020

Harvesting of the 2020 cereal crops was completed in September and the aggregate cereal output is estimated at about 126 million tonnes, 8 percent above the five‑year average. Following record high plantings, wheat and maize outputs are set at above‑average levels of 82 and 14 million tonnes, respectively. Similarly, barley production is estimated at 20 million tonnes, 5 percent above average due to high yields.

Total cereal exports forecast above‑average in 2020/21

Aggregate cereal exports in the 2020/21 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at about 48 million tonnes, 14 percent above the five‑year average volume. Wheat shipments, accounting on average for 80 percent of the total cereal exports, are forecast at 38 million tonnes, well above the average level on account of the large output obtained in 2020 and strong demand from importing countries. Similarly, barley exports are foreseen at 5.5 million tonnes, slightly above the five‑year average, while maize shipments are forecast at a slightly below‑average level of 4 million tonnes.

In response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, on 27 March 2020, the Government set a 7 million tonnes export quota on wheat, maize, barley and rye to the countries outside the EurAsian Economic Union (EAEU) for the period 1 April to 30 June 2020 with the aim of ensuring adequate domestic availabilities. On 28 September 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture announced the possibility of the introduction a new grain export quota for the second half of the 2020/21 marketing year (January‑June 2021).

Export prices of wheat increased in September

After decreasing sharply in June 2020 with the start of the winter harvest, export prices of milling quality wheat declined slightly in the following two months and increased in September, mirroring the trends in the international market. The recent increase is mainly due to strong demand for wheat from the importing countries and concerns at regional level regarding production prospects of the 2021 winter wheat crops due to ongoing dry weather conditions.

In the domestic markets, wholesale prices of milling wheat decreased seasonally between June and August 2020 and increased in September.

Retail prices of potatoes, another important food staple, after seasonally increasing between March and July 2020, declined strongly in August and September with the arrival on the markets of the recently harvested tubers.

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