MOSCOW, RUSSIA – Russia, the world’s biggest wheat exporter, announced on April 26 that it has reached its self-imposed grain export quota for the April-June period and will halt shipments for the remainder of the period, Bloomberg reported.

In a statement, the Agricultural Ministry said Russia will halt grain shipments after the last cargo booked under the quota leaves the country.  It did not specify when that could happen.

Exports will resume when the next marketing season starts on July 1, the ministry said. That’s when farmers will begin bringing in grain from the new harvest.

Russia set the grain quota to protect domestic supply and contain prices amid upheaval from the coronavirus and a plunge in oil prices. Several other Black Sea countries, including Ukraine and Kazakhstan, have also limited food exports.

Russia, which has a history of disrupting the wheat market through restrictions or taxes, has not imposed an outright ban since 2010 when drought severely limited production.

That export ban was believed to indirectly contribute to rising bread prices in the Middle East that helped spark the Arab Spring, a series of anti-government protests that spread throughout the Arab world.

Turkey, Egypt and Bangladesh are the largest buyers of Russian wheat.

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