Russia exports 921,600 tonnes of wheat in first five months of 2013, down 83.1% from year-ago period, according to government statistics; imports up 760% to 362,800 tonnes

MOSCOW , July 9, 2013 () – Russia exported 83.1% less wheat and imported 8.6-fold more in January-May.

The Federal Customs Service (FCS) said on Tuesday that exports of wheat and meslin, a wheat-rye blend, amounted to 921,600 tonnes for $294.5 million in the first five months of this year versus 5.413 million tonnes for $1.42 billion in the same period last year.

The bulk of exports traditionally go to countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States. These weighed in at 843,600 tonnes for the five months this year versus 5.329 million tonnes for January-May last year.

The precipitous drop in export volume, experts say, was associated with last year's harvest contracting to 70.9 million tonnes from 94.2 million tonnes in 2011.

In the just-ended agricultural year - July 2012 through June 2013 - Russia exported 16.2 million tonnes of grain, Russian Grain Union President Arkady Zlochevsky has said, citing customs statistics.

FCS figures show that wheat and meslin imports in January-May amounted to 362,800 tonnes for $104.7 million versus 42,200 tonnes for $7 million a year previously.

Corn imports increased to 41,800 tonnes for $118.6 million from 25,100 tonnes for $77.5 million. Barley imports, however, decreased to 146,100 tonnes for $49.6 million from 293,000 tonnes for $108.3 million.

The Agriculture Ministry forecasts that this year's grain harvest in Russia will run to as much as 95 million tonnes.

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