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UPDATE 2-Kazakhstan raises grain harvest forecast, cuts export outlook

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ALMATY, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan raised its forecast for its grains harvest this year while cutting its export forecast, senior officials said at a government meeting on Tuesday.

The country sees the harvest at 16 million tonnes of grains, up from a forecast last month of 15.3 million, and exports at 6 million to 6.5 million tonnes, down from an earlier forecast of 6.5 million to 7.0 million, officials said.

Harvesting is 95% complete, Agriculture Minister Yerbol Karashokeyev said.

"In the new season, the main (export) supplies of Kazakh grain and flour will be directed at the traditional markets, Central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan," he said.

"Thanks to higher grain quality, it is possible sales of Hi-Pro class wheat to China will increase."

Kazakhstan, the top grain producer in Central Asia, has been hit by dry and hot weather this summer, but high stocks and imports from Russia are expected to support its grain supplies in the 2021/22 season, which started on July 1. (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov and Mariya Gordeyeva; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Christian Schmollinger)

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