Turkey Sticks New Curbs on Russia Wheat Imports, Traders Say

(Bloomberg) -- Turkey limited wheat imports from Russia for the second time this year, according to traders and Turkey’s grain association.

Turkish trade authorities curbed the amount of Russian wheat in recent cargoes to under a third of the total shipment, said traders at AgriPro Ltd. and GTCS Trading DMCC. The restrictions were added about a week ago and reduced Russian wheat to 20 to 25 percent, according to Gulfem Eren, chairwoman of Turkey’s Grain Suppliers Association.

A spokesman at Turkey’s Economy Ministry wasn’t immediately able to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News. Some restrictions in wheat trade remain as Russia and Turkey continue negotiations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on a conference call with reporters.

The new curbs come after an agreement by Russian and Turkish leaders to resolve an ongoing food spat between the two countries. Earlier this year, Russian shipments of grain to Turkey, a major flour supplier, were halted as part of a tit-for-tat dispute that started with Russia’s ban on Turkish tomatoes.

Exports resumed after President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Sochi in early May. However, Russia has said it would keep restrictions on Turkish tomatoes. Before the dispute, Turkey was the second-biggest buyer of Russian wheat.

Turkish flour millers are reluctant to increase purchase of Russian wheat due to the restrictions, Oleg Kryukovskiy, a trader with GTCS Trading DMCC in Dubai, said by phone.

The same import restrictions apply to corn, according to Faik Genc, managing director at broker AgriPro Ltd.

Russian wheat reserves are building up to reach a record at the end of the 2016-17 season in June. The nation reaped its biggest wheat harvest, but exports were below expectations as the stronger ruble make Russian grain less appealing.