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UPDATE 1-Russia may switch grain, sunseed export tax to roubles, agency says

(Adds details, quotes, context)

June 23 (Reuters) - Russia may gradually switch state export taxes for grains and sunflower seeds to the rouble currency from the U.S. dollar, the Interfax news agency reported on Thursday, citing a source in one of the ministries involved in discussing the change.

Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter and a major supplier of sunflower seeds, is facing a raft of U.S. and European sanctions as a result of Moscow's decision to send troops into Ukraine.

Russia's grain exports have been constrained as the new marketing season starts on July 1 amid a high export tax, strong rouble, problems with freight and lack of forward sales caused by the sanctions.

"Government ministries are discussing modernisation of the grain and sunflower seeds' tax mechanism to preserve profitability and investment attractiveness of the Russian farmers," the source said, according to Interfax.

"It is a matter of giving a certain discount to the export duty, taking into account the risks of declining profitability of production. This will not affect the domestic prices, but will support exports," the unidentified source added.

Two industry sources told Reuters that traders had been asking the government to change the mechanism for the wheat export tax, set by Russia's agriculture ministry at $142 per tonne for June 22-28, but there was no agreement among officials. (Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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