The Russian government has formally approved a proposal to impose a higher export tax on wheat from 1 March, it said on Tuesday, in another push to curb a rise in domestic food prices triggered by the COVID-19 crisis.
Russia is one of the world's largest wheat exporters. Global wheat prices jumped after the proposal to raise the tax was first announced by Russian officials earlier in January on expectations that it could make buyers prefer wheat from other countries.
The government approved a €50 ($61) per tonne wheat export tax starting from 1 March to 30 June compared to the €25 per-tonne tax set for 15 February to 1 March.
A barley and corn export tax is set at €10 per-tonne and €25 per-tonne, respectively, from 15 March to 30 June.
Stabilise Grain Prices
The move tightens up measures to stabilise grain prices initiated by the government in December. Prices on the domestic grain market are under pressure from global prices which are rising, deputy economy minister, Vladimir Ilyichyov said in a statement.
Moscow will continue monitoring the situation and is ready to further adjust the mechanism for grain export regulation if necessary, he said.
"At the same time, we hope that in the near future the price situation will stabilise and we will be able to switch to a permanent export duty mechanism," Ilyichyov added.
Moscow will continue taxing wheat exports in the new marketing season that starts on July 1 and will prepare a formula for that, instead of the current fixed tariff, officials have said.