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Another Bumper Russian Wheat Crop Negates Export Tax

Russia is expected to see another bumper wheat crop this year with harvest expectations reaching 62.5 million tons – the highest in eight years after a mild winter and sufficient, timely rains.

This high supply comes at a time of record low global prices and a strengthening ruble, creating a scenario wherein the country’s wheat export tax, which may be extended for an additional year, is inconsequential to traders and farmers.

“The impact of the tax will remain negligible for the coming year as both global wheat prices and the ruble-dollar exchange rate will remain around 2015 levels,” Alexandre Andrey, an analyst at BMI Research, a unit of Fitch Ratings Ltd., told Bloomberg by e-mail. “I do not believe that the continuation of the wheat-export tax will affect planting decisions.”

If the ruble were to devalue or production were to drop, however, farmers would be the most affected as traders pass on the cost of an increasing tax to them. Because of this, the Russian Grain Union is heavily opposed to the tax.

“If the tax becomes a problem, then voices will get louder again to amend the system,” Stefan Vogel, head of agricultural commodities research at Rabobank International, told Bloomberg by phone.

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