NewsRussia curbs sugar exports until August to keep domestic prices low

Russia curbs sugar exports until August to keep domestic prices low

Empty sugar shelves in the store in Moscow in March 2022.
Empty sugar shelves in the store in Moscow in March 2022.
Images source: © via Getty Images | LightRocket, SOPA Images, Vlad Karkov

10:39 AM EDT, May 4, 2024

The Russian government announced on Friday evening that it had suspended sugar exports until the end of August in an effort to enhance stability in the domestic food market. This measure adds to Moscow's recent actions, which included halting fuel exports.

The Russian government announced on Friday evening that it had suspended sugar exports until the end of August to enhance stability in the domestic food market. This measure adds to Moscow's recent actions, which included halting fuel exports.

The export restrictions on Russian sugar will not apply to former Soviet republics, allowing limited quantities to be exported to Belarus (around 11,000 pounds), Armenia (about 61,729 pounds), Kazakhstan (approximately 264,555 pounds), and Kyrgyzstan (roughly 62,832 pounds).
The decision to propose the ban came from the Russian Ministry of Agriculture in March. They argued that it would help prevent a spike in sugar prices domestically.
This initiative recalls the "sugar panic" experienced in Russia in March 2022 following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine and subsequent Western sanctions imposed on the Kremlin. Russians, fearing shortages, began hoarding basic goods such as sugar and buckwheat, resulting in empty store shelves owing to the sudden surge in demand.

Navigating fuel price spikes

Russians faced unusually high fuel prices in the fall, which sparked widespread complaints. In response, the Kremlin introduced a temporary export ban on gasoline and diesel to ensure enough supply for the domestic market.

On March 1, Russia extended the suspension of fuel exports until September. However, certain countries are exempt from the export ban. Members of the Eurasian Economic Union (Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan), along with South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Mongolia, and Uzbekistan, are exempt.

This move aims to avert fuel shortages during the Spring and Summer, when demand surges due to holiday travel.

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