27 Jul 2009 13:33

Interventions on Russian grain market to commence in Aug-Sept

MOSCOW. July 27 (Interfax) - Procurement interventions on the Russian grain market will not begin before late August or early September, Grain Union president Arkady Zlochevsky told journalists on Monday.

The Agriculture Ministry discussed the start of the interventions last Friday. The ministry had said in the past that the interventions could begin on August 1.

"The situation with interventions will become clearer in late August or early September. It wouldn't be sensible to hold them on August 1," Zlochevsky said.

The prices for coarse grain in the interventions have already been set at a level 100 rubles lower than last year, he said.

In the previous interventions, the cost of soft class-five wheat was 4,000-4,100 per tonne depending on the region, while coarse barley sold at 3,800 tonnes per tonne.

The Agriculture Ministry announced back in late March that the price of food grain would be the same as last year.

Asked how the government agent would fulfill the functions of buying grain for the intervention fund, Zlochevsky said the United Grain Company that was set up on the core of Food Market Regulation Agency (the agent in previous interventions) "may not be the state agent. The problem is that United Grain Company has exhausted the limit for one borrower and can't receive any more funds from the Russian Agriculture Bank to buy grain."

Zlochevsky did not offer a forecast for how much grain could be purchased in the interventions.

During the last interventions on the Russian grain market from August 19, 2008 until May 22, 2009, the government purchased 9.6 million tonnes of grain for a total of 46 billion rubles.