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Russian soybean export tax to hit farmers near border with China -analysts

MOSCOW, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Russia's decision to impose an export tax on soybeans will hit farmers in its far eastern regions, who usually grow them to supply to neighbouring China, analysts and producers said on Monday.

Russia decided to impose the export tax on soybeans to secure domestic supply amid rising global prices, its economy ministry said on Saturday. The duty will be 30% but no less than 165 euros ($200) per tonne from Feb. 1 to June 30.

"This is hard to believe," Maxim Basov, chief executive at Russian farming conglomerate Rusagro, told Reuters. "The imposition of the export duty for soybeans is destructive for crop production, especially in the Far East."

Rusagro, Russia's largest soybean producer, will probably start sowing less once the tariff is imposed, Basov added.

The move was taken amid Russian attempts to stabilise domestic food price growth. U.S. soybean prices rose to 6-1/2 year high on Monday due to concerns about production in South America.

Russia's annual soybean production of 4.4 million tonnes is very small compared to the one of the world's leading producers such as Brazil or the United States.

"The export duty will hit hard the economy of our far eastern regions, whose crop production relies on growing and exporting soybeans to neighbouring China," Dmitry Rylko, the head of the IKAR agriculture consultancy, said.

The export duty will, however, help to reduce domestic prices for the livestock producers, said Mikhail Maltsev, the head of Russia's vegetable oil union, a non-government lobby group of vegetable oil producers.

Russia exported 1.2 million tonnes of soybeans in the previous marketing season which ended on Aug. 31.

($1 = 0.8234 euros) (Reporting by Olga Popova; writing Polina Devitt; editing by David Evans)

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