MOSCOW — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Sept. 1 announced the Russian grain export ban implemented on Aug. 15 may extend until after the 2011 harvest. The ban initially was set to expire at the end of 2010. The announcement provided firm support to U.S. and world wheat futures markets, but it failed to have the electric effect the initial announcement of the export ban had in early August because the market expected Russia to extend the export embargo. Russia’s grain harvest was sharply reduced by drought this year, and conditions remained extremely dry as Russian farmers began planting the 2011 winter wheat crop. The market was uncertain whether the ban would in fact remain in effect until the fall of 2011.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government, while slowing the pace of wheat and other grain exports, still has not decided whether to impose a rigid cap on exports in the current year. Ukraine exported 430,000 tonnes of wheat in August, up from 225,000 tonnes in July. In August 2009, Ukraine exported 1.16 million tonnes of wheat.