UPDATE 1-Russia ups grain export forecast, Jan-June export quota looms
* Russia ups 2020/21 grain export forecast to 50 mln T
* Says grain export quota to be set for Jan-June
* Effect from quota for 2020/21 trade seems limited for now (Adds details, quotes, context)
MOSCOW, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Russia has upgraded its forecast for the 2020/21 grain exportable surplus by 5 million tonnes to 50 million, as it prepares to announce an export quota for January-June, officials said on Wednesday.
Russia, one of the world's biggest wheat exporters, is harvesting a large crop this year. But rising domestic prices and a weak rouble have brought the grain export quota mechanism, used in spring at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, back onto the government agenda recently.
"We are maintaining our leading positions in the global grain market, and that tendency will continue," Deputy Prime Minister Victoria Abramchenko told Russian news agencies.
She said the country was currently expected to export 50 million tonnes of grain in the 2020/21 marketing season, which runs from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. The agriculture ministry previously expected exports of 45 million tonnes.
The ministry said on Wednesday the quota was planned for January-June. It did not give any further details.
The higher 2020/21 export estimate will ease some of the pressure on traders from the quota, as Russia has already exported 14 million tonnes since July 1, traders said.
With an official 2020/21 grain export estimate of 50 million tonnes, the quota could be set at 20 million tonnes for January-June, two sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters in September.
Russian wheat exports were booming in August and September. Shipments in winter are usually lower, but much depends on the supply/demand balance, global prices and the exchange rate.
"The Russian government has a love/hate view of wheat exports. Overall they are a great export earner for the country, but when domestic prices and inflation are threatened the government does not like them," a European trader said.
"There is a big line-up of ships in Russian ports showing demand is still strong. The rouble is expected to remain weak and more export sales are expected," he added.
As of now, the quota is unlikely to have any significant limiting effect on 2020/21 exports, Sovecon consultancy said last week. (Reporting by Polina Devitt and Michael Hogan; editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)
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