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Russia should have a record 41 million tonnes of wheat available for export in the 2022/23 marketing campaign, up 25% on the current season, depending on the impact of sanctions and other challenges, a Reuters poll showed on Tuesday.

Its 2022 wheat crop is expected to increase by 14% to 86.9 million tonnes, according to the median estimate from a survey of nine analysts, officials and traders.

Analysts said the actual size of exports would be subject to a number of headwinds, including sanctions imposed on Moscow after it sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, a strong rouble, Russia’s own export tax, and soaring freight and insurance costs.

If the exports are achieved, Russia would remain the world’s largest wheat exporter, supplying mainly the Middle East and Africa. It exported a record 39 million tonnes of wheat in 2020/21.

The actual amount of export shipments in the 2022/23 is unknown yet nor shipments of the current season.

Russia’s customs service in April suspended publication of import and export data in order to avoid “speculation”.

“We do not know yet, nobody knows it now,” Dmitry Rylko at agriculture consultancy IKAR said, when asked to estimate how much of the exportable surplus would be shipped abroad.

Relying on data from Russian ports, Sovecon, another consultancy, estimates that wheat exports have not exceeded 2.2 million tonnes a month since the start of what Moscow calls its special military operation in Ukraine.

Paris wheat slips to three-month low, cash premiums firm

“The main challenge remains the…sanctions, which despite the official exclusion of trade in grains and other food products from sanctions, have a negative impact on supplies to countries in need,” Eduard Zernin, who heads the Russian Union of Grain Exporters, told Reuters.

These include difficulties in making payments, lack of credit lines, trade finance and affordable insurance, he added.

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