ISTANBUL, TURKEY — The Turkish government said on Sept. 6 that due to recent fluctuations in domestic flour prices it has introduced a regulation limiting exports of flour produced from grain grown domestically, outside of the Inward Processing Regime duty exemption mechanism, to 1% of total exports, according to S&P Global Platts.

The Ministry of Trade told S&P Global Platts the action was taken to stabilize domestic flour prices, protect consumers and prevent speculation, but noted that the export limit was temporary and would be removed when domestic price stability returned.

Turkey has been the world’s top flour exporter over the last five years, accounting for one-third of all flour exports. In 2017, Turkey exported 3.6 million tonnes of flour worth $1.1 billion.

Facing a severe economic crisis in which the lira has plummeted against the dollar, Turkey’s flour exporters have been facing prohibitive wheat import costs in recent months. As a result, the number of Russian ships bringing wheat into Turkey has fallen from 10 a day to fewer than 10 a week, according to S&P Global Platts.

The situation prompted Turkey’s state grains agency, TMO, to open its 2 million tonnes of grains stocks in early August, several months earlier than usual.