(Adds Kremlin comment, details, context)

MOSCOW, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Prime Minister
said on Thursday Russia would prepare measures to stabilise
domestic food prices, a day after President
criticised officials and market players over rising prices for
bread, flour, sugar and sunflower oil.

Grains traders across the globe will be watching out for any
measures that could effect Russian wheat supplies, as it is one
of the world’s biggest exporters.

“We must take concrete measures to effectively hold the
prices of products which are important for people – in line with
instructions of the head of state,” Mishustin told a government
meeting, describing it as “unacceptable in the context of
declining incomes”.

“I would like to appeal to producers, heads of retail chains
and, of course, exporters – do not take advantage of people,”
the prime minister said.

Russians’ incomes fell 4.8% in the third quarter after their
sharpest plunge in 20 years in the preceding quarter due to the
COVID-19 crisis. Putin said bread, flour and sunflower oil
prices rose by 6.3%, 12.9% and 23.8%, respectively, recently.

Russia harvested a large wheat crop this year, but domestic
prices have been rising. To help them stabilise, the agriculture
ministry previously proposed setting a grain export quota of
17.5 million tonnes for Feb. 15-June 30. The government is yet
to approve the idea.

Some livestock consumers have been calling for an export tax
on Russian wheat in addition or instead of the quota.

Mishustin did not elaborate on what measures could be taken,
and plans to hold another meeting on the issue later on
Thursday. But he said the steps taken would be in addition to
the increase in an export tax on sunflower seeds and rapeseed
from January.

“There will be market regulation, regulation by market
methods only,” Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, told reporters.
(Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; writing by Polina Devitt;
editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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