14:06 GMT +319 October 2019
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    Russia will continue to expand its clout in the international grain market this year, according to Alexander Korbut, Vice President of the Russian Grain Union.

    In an interview with Sputnik, Vice President of the Russian Grain Union Alexander Korbut said that this year will see Russia continue to expand its clout in the international grain market, not least due to the weakening of the Russian ruble.

    He recalled that Russia started exporting grain back in 2002, and has been steadily strengthening its position in this field since then. Korbut specifically praised Russia for foraying into the grain markets of Africa and Latin America over the past couple of years.

    "Right now, we supply grain to about 100 countries, including Nigeria, South Africa and Mexico," he said.

    Even though energy and arms exports are still considered to be the driving forces of the Russian economy, the situation is already changing rapidly, with Russia's grain exports being worth almost 20 billion dollars last year, according to Korbut.

    "It is grain supplies that currently define the new face of Russian exports," Korbut emphasized.

    Earlier, the Wall Street Journal quoted the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as saying that Russia's wheat exports are expected to set a new record this year, outpacing the world's biggest wheat exporters Canada and the US.

    According to USDA statistics, Russia's wheat exports are due to increase by three percent to 23.5 million metric tons, while US wheat exports are set to plummet to a 44-year low, to 21.8 million metric tons.

    Moreover, Canada's wheat exports of 20.5 million tons this year would represent a 15 percent drop from 2015. Historically, the United States and Canada have traded places as the top and No. 2 wheat exporters.

    Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev, for his part, said earlier this week that his ministry has plans to increase the country's grain output by 15-20 million tons in the next ten years.


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