MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russia has formally approved a higher wheat export tax starting on March 1, Reuters reported, to counteract a rise in domestic food prices caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The government approved a €50 ($61) per tonne wheat export tax starting from March 1 to June 30 compared to the €25-per-tonne tax set for Feb. 15 to March 1. A barley and corn export tax is set at €10 per tonne and €25 per tonne, respectively, from March 15 to June 30.

Prices on the domestic grain market are under pressure from global prices, which are rising, Deputy Economy Minister Vladimir Ilyichyov said.

He said the government will continue to monitor the situation and will further adjust the grain export regulation if needed.

“At the same time, we hope that in the near future the price situation will stabilize and we will be able to switch to a permanent export duty mechanism,” Ilyichyov said.