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Morning briefing: Concerns about food aid after Russian export ban

* Governments and corporations around the world scrambled to assess the impact of Russia's ban on grain exports.

Japan, Asia's second-largest wheat importer, said it is seeking U.S. corn or wheat for feed. Franciscus Welirang, chairman of the Flour Mills Association in Indonesia, predicted a "domino reaction" to the announcement. "We expect corn demand will rise, pushing prices higher, and feed industries will buy more corn and soybeans. It's the end of cheap wheat."

Analysts warned that other exporters from the Black Sea, such as Ukraine, that are also suffering from a drought that has destroyed vast swaths of the crop, may also halt shipments to other countries.

And aid agencies expressed concern that Russia's ban, combined with floods in Asia, from Pakistan to North Korea, that have left millions homeless and destroyed grain crops, may hamper efforts to get food supplies to those in need.

* Spain and Finland said separately that their economies are growing. The Bank of Spain said gross domestic product was up 0.2 percent in April-June from the previous quarter; it was the second quarter of consecutive growth after two years in recession. Statistics Finland said the country's GDP grew an annual 4.2 percent in May.

For more economic and domestic policy news see my colleague Ezra Klein's Wonkbook.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha  |  August 6, 2010; 6:36 AM ET
Categories:  *Morning briefing  
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