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EU to put cereal stocks on market by year-end

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(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission intends to sell its stockpiles of cereals before the end of the year, the European Union's top agriculture official said Monday.

EU agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos said he was keeping a close eye on commodity prices but rejected any comparison to the situation of three years ago, when the stocks of the main exporters were low.

"The situation is not similar to 2007," he told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of EU agriculture ministers, referring to tight markets that year.

Cereal production in the 27-nation EU is expected to exceed 285 million tonnes this year compared to 255 million tonnes in 2007. EU stocks total 5.3 million tonnes.

A Russian grain export ban has stung world markets, sending wheat prices to two-year highs and sparking worries of a crisis in global food supplies that could spark widespread strains and protests.

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