MOSCOW, RUSSIA — About 900,000 tonnes of wheat has been loaded in Russian ports during the first 13 days of April, in line with March’s pace, according to Logistics OS, Bloomberg reported, despite economic sanctions and soaring shipping costs in the Black Sea region following Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

The resiliency of Russian grain exports has led analysts to downgrade their outlook for wheat exports from the European Union, one of Russia’s top competitors. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) last week also raised its estimate for Russian wheat exports in the current season to 33 million tonnes, though that remains short of the 35 million tonnes it forecast before the war. Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter, accounting for 18% of global shipments.

Under Russian quotas, exports from February to June are limited to 8 million tonnes. Grain shipments are expected to slow in the coming months compared with March due to a stronger ruble, which Russian exporters must use for overseas business amid international economic sanctions, and high export taxes. The main buyers of Russian wheat remain Egypt, Turkey and Iran, according to the Moscow-based Institute for Agricultural Market Studies.

Russia’s Black Sea ports are still operating, and traffic is resuming in the Sea of Azov, but shipping costs from the Black Sea region also have soared 50% to 80% from last year due to war risks, according to UkrAgroConsult. Still, nearby importers continue to weigh whether Russian wheat remains competitive versus other sources. Egypt booked one cargo from Russia in its latest wheat tender on April 13, although France took the bulk of purchases.