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UPDATE 1-Russia's state grain trader to head new exporters' union

(Adds details, quotes, context)

MOSCOW, April 23 (Reuters) - An executive at Russia's state grain trader, the United Grain Company (UGC), will head up the country's new grain exporters' union, its founders said on Tuesday, in a sign of tightening control by Russian officials of grain exports.

Officials in the world's largest wheat exporter have been closely watching how big exporters are faring given a lower 2018 crop since September.

In February, Russia's agriculture ministry announced plans to set up a new grain exporters' union to better understand the needs of the market.

Four trading companies, which export more than one third of Russia's grain - RIF, the Russian grain office of global trade giant Glencore, Aston and a subsidiary of UGC - signed the memorandum on creation of Russian Union Of Grain Exporters, they said in the statement, a copy of which was reviewed by Reuters.

Eduard Zernin, UGC deputy chief executive, will become the executive director of the association, they said.

Russia's Agriculture ministry said it welcomed the new association and said it hoped that it will unite all major market players soon. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; editing by Louise Heavens)

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