Turkey becomes main buyer of Russian grain during agricultural year that goes through end of June, purchasing nearly 2.8 million tonnes, industry official says

GELENDZHIK, Russia , June 6, 2013 () – Turkey has become the main buyer of Russian grain this agricultural year, which runs from July 2012 through June 2013.

"This season is very non-traditional. Turkey became the main buyer of Russian grain," LLC ProZerno chief executive Vladimir Petrichenko said at the 14th International Grain Round in Gelendzhik.

He said Turkey purchased 2.755 million tonnes of Russian grain in the period from July 2012 through April 2013, overtaking former leading buyer Egypt, which purchased 2.678 million tonnes.

Iran and Iraq were also major buyers this season, purchasing respectively 1.392 million tonnes and 561,000 tonnes, Petrichenko said, adding that these figures were double what they were last year.

"The Persian Gulf in general should and be a very important center of attention for us," Petrichenko said, remarking that the geography of exports will change. "And not only because Egypt is having problems. This is important, of course, but in addition to their economic problems there is also the announcement of their own decent grain harvest," he said.

He said the structure of Russian grain could also change soon. "We understand that wheat is our main commodity and it will remain so. But if we're talking about the future, then this is corn, we need to do more with corn," Petrichenko said.

He noted that Turkey became the leading buyer of Russian grain because it ramped up corn purchases, which totalled 739,000 tonnes.

Egypt remained the biggest importer of Russian wheat, with 2.678 million tonnes, and Turkey was second with 1.977 million tonnes, according to ProZerno.

Petrichenko forecast that Russian grain exports will total 22.1 million tonnes in the new agricultural year (July 2013 - June 2014), including 17 million tonnes of wheat. However, the prospects are also good for corn exports, which will be the second largest grain crop after wheat, he said, forecasting that Russia would export 2.7 million tonnes of corn and 2.4 million tonnes

Petrichenko said that due to the growth of the grain harvest this year, which he expects to increase to 97 million tonnes from 70.9 million tonnes last year, the bulk of Russian grain export shipments will return to deepwater ports.

"This season was the season of small ports, which accounted for 57% of exports, but big grain is shipped by big water," Petrichenko said, adding that "there will be enough work for everyone."

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