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Russia will lift grain ban once size of harvest known

John Walter 09/06/2010 @ 2:00pm

MOSCOW (Dow Jones)--Russia's grain export ban will be lifted as soon as there is a clear indication of how much grain has been gathered, President Dmitry Medvedev said Monday.

The comments appear to contradict those made by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who last week said the ban would be extended until late next year.

"This is a temporary measure, but a necessary one," Medvedev said in a speech to farmers in Voronezh, a city in Russia's agricultural heartland. "As soon as we determine how much has been harvested, the embargo will be lifted. You can be sure of it."

The Kremlin's press service couldn't immediately comment on whether Medvedev meant this year's harvest or next year's.

In an effort to stabilize domestic grain prices after the country's worst drought in decades destroyed a third of the grain harvest, Russia last month banned grain exports, which was initially supposed to have been in force from Aug. 15 to Dec. 31.

In a surprise announcement last week, however, Putin said the ban would continue until the size of next year's harvest was clear, which could be as late as November 2011.

Putin's press service later told Dow Jones Newswires that the ban could be lifted earlier, if it appeared the harvest would be sufficient.

-By Ira Iosebashvili, Dow Jones Newswires; +7 495 232 9195; ira.iosebashvili@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 06, 2010 10:19 ET (14:19 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones Company, Inc.

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