• Russia will not export until next harvest
  • Carlsberg is the brewer most exposed
  • Heineken, Anheuser-Busch InBev play down impact
Brewers seek to calm nerves over Russias wheat ban

Brewers seek to calm nerves over Russia's wheat ban

Russia's prime minister, Vladimir Putin, has reportedly extended the country's ban on wheat exports in a move that could put further strain on supplies for drinks firms.

Putin said yesterday that Russia's export ban will remain in place until after the country's next harvest, according to a BBC report yesterday (2 September). The ban was originally only set to run until the end of this year.

Russia is one of the world's largest wheat exporters, but a drought this year has meant that the wheat crop could be around 40% lower than in 2009. Its absence from the global market has caused a spike in prices and concerns within the food and drink sector about the cost of raw materials.

Carlsberg, which is highly exposed to Russia via its Baltika Breweries business, sought to reassure investors following its half-year results last month. However, some analysts expect an impact. "Baltika is largely unhedged on malting barley and will face increased input costs," said Sanford C Bernstein in a note.

Meanwhile, Heineken said that it "does not expect a major spike" in grain prices and rival Anheuser-Busch InBev said that it did not anticipate any "material impact" in 2010 and 2011.

Most analysts and experts have said that global wheat stocks are in a much healthier position than in the months prior to the supply shortages of 2007.