Argentina Temporarily Closes Grain and Oilseed Registry

Argentine government makes move amid domestic price concerns.

The Agricultural Secretariat of Argentina said Friday that the country closed its export registry for 2006-07 grains, oilseeds and subproducts. The temporary closing will not affect exports with previous declarations, but the Agriculture Secretariat said it would not receive new export declarations.

"Given the unusual amount of export declarations over the past days, and in order to process all the documentation received, and to prepare a report on the situation for consideration by the Secretariat, we will not receive export declarations on Nov. 17," an Agriculture Secretariat decree says.

Amid speculation of government intervention to control exports and domestic food prices - including rumors that Argentia would raise the export tax on corn, which the government denies - declared exports of wheat and corn have skyrocketed in order to lock in reference prices.

Agricultural exports must be registered in Argentina. Reference prices are fixed based on the day of registration.

Wheat exporters in Argentia have declared new-crop commitments of 7.88 million metric tons, with no more than 8 million tons expected to be available for export. Corn exporters have made commitments of 10.11 million tons out of a USDA estimated 17.5 million ton crop.

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