USDA Predicts Russia to Remain World’s Biggest Grain Exporter in 2019

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that Russia will harvest a solid crop of wheat 77 million tons of wheat and 38.4 million tons of feed grain (corn, sorghum, barley, rye, oats, millet), making a total harvest of 115.4 million tons in 2019, Vedomosti reports.

Russia’s Agriculture Ministry currently forecasts 118 million tons of grain to be harvested, up by 5% year-on-year, with a 75 million-78 million wheat crop.

Russia is currently the world’s top wheat exporter. It is also among the leaders in exports of fish and sunflower oil. The country, which has imposed sanctions on Western food in response to U.S. and EU measures against itself, has grown into a net exporter of poultry and achieved self-sufficiency in pork, while also making headway in covering its own needs in beef.

Another solid harvest in 2019 would reinforce downwards inflationary dynamics and help the central bank lower the interest rates, bne Intellinews writes. Russia could export at least 42 million to 46 million tons of wheat in 2019, out of total global output of about 777 million tons.

Analysts surveyed by Vedomosti believe that rather moderate wheat harvest forecasts of the respected USDA helps Russian producers as it is likely to keep prices stable despite the rising output of wheat both in Russia and abroad.

Notably, part of the discrepancy between Russian and USDA forecasts stems from not accounting for about 1 million tons of grain that will be harvested in the annexed Crimea Peninsula.

The forecast for 118 million tons of grain is down on the record 135 million tons that Russia brought in in 2018, but still well ahead of the five-year average. Grain harvests have been rising steadily in recent years following a massive investment campaign by the state.