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CIS (Asia & Europe)

Domestic and export prices of wheat on the increase

12/05/2020

In the exporting countries of the subregion, export prices of milling wheat increased in April by about 7 percent in line with trends in the international market. Strong demand amid export control measures implemented in the subregion underpinned the increases. Concerns over the impact of dry weather conditions on 2020 crops in the Russian Federation and Ukraine provided further upward pressure on prices, which, however, remained around their year-earlier levels. By contrast, in Kazakhstan, last year’s reduced harvest contributed to keep prices more than 20 percent higher both in the export and the domestic market. Wholesale prices of wheat in the Russian Federation and in Ukraine increased in April due to solid domestic and foreign demand as well as tightening supplies. In the importing countries of the subregion, prices of wheat flour continued to generally increase. In Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, strong retail demand amid the implementation of export restrictions from Kazakhstan drove up prices of wheat flour, which reached levels well above those in April last year. In these countries, the depreciation of the currencies in the past two months provided further upward pressure. Similarly, in Georgia, panic buying triggered a sharp increase in prices in April, while a weak currency contributed to sustain the higher year-on-year level of prices. Prices of wheat flour increased only slightly in Armenia in April, while they remained relatively stable in Azerbaijan and Belarus in March. With regard to potatoes, another key staple in the subregion, prices continued to increase steeply in April with seasonal trends exacerbated by stronger consumer demand. Prices rose significantly in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, to a lesser extent also in Kazakhstan, and were at levels well above those a year earlier. Prices of potatoes increased also in the Russian Federation due to reduced availabilities of high quality produce and solid domestic demand but remained down from a year earlier. By contrast, prices of potatoes decreased slightly in Armenia and were well below their levels in April last year.

National policy responses to limit the impact of COVID-19 on food markets - update

• A number of countries in the subregion implemented measures to temporarily remove or ease import restrictions (FPMA Food Policies).

Kazakhstan, on 3 April 2020, had approved the introduction of price ceilings on 9 socially-significant food products; subsequently, on 6 May, these products were increased to a total of 19, including wheat flour, bread, rice and sunflower oil. The price ceilings were suspended on 11 May with the end of the state of emergency.

Tajikistan, on 25 April 2020, introduced a temporary export ban on a number of food staples, including cereals, pulses, potatoes and meat products.

Ukraine, on 23 April 2020, reintroduced State regulations on prices of a range of food items, including wheat flour, buckwheat, pasta, bread, milk and sugar.