Market News & Headlines >> Russia Sets Grain Export Tariff From Feb. 1

Russia late last week announced it would apply duties to grain exports from Feb. 1 in an effort to slow a record export pace and keep domestic prices under control.

The Russian government said in a Thursday statement that the duty would amount to 15% of the customs price plus 7.5 euros, but would be no less than 35 euros per metric ton ($42.50 as of Monday) and would stay in effect until June 30, the end of the current local marketing year.

In the wake of the tariff announcement, Russian officials have reportedly relaxed informal curbs implemented last week that brought grain exports to a virtual halt according to the Russian Grain Union. Those measures included tougher quality monitoring by VPSS (Rosselkhoznadzor), the government food safety watchdog and limits on railway loadings.

"Since the clarity over the duty, market players have reported a decline in the informal barriers on exports," Moscow-based analyst SovEcon said on Monday in a note viewed by Reuters News Service. "Rosselkhoznadzor has started to give certificates and vessels with grain have started leaving the Azov and the Black Sea ports."

A Rosselkhoznadzor spokesman said, however, that the tougher quality monitoring would remain in place. According to the watchdog, the tougher checks did not affect exports anyway.

State-controlled Russia Railways lifted its loading limits, but on Monday announced plans to increase its tariff on grain loadings for export by 13.4% from Jan. 29 due to weakness in the value of the ruble.