Moscow -- Russia said Thursday it would suspend selling grain abroad for at least five months because of a prolonged drought withering wheat and other crops in the field.
The move will shift the focus of grain exports abruptly, as Russia is one of the world's largest wheat producers, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Wheat prices on the Chicago Board of Trade have risen in recent weeks and spiked higher Wednesday with the announcement.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called the export ban necessary "to prevent a rise in domestic food prices … to preserve the number of cattle and build up reserves for next year."
"As the saying goes, reserves don't make your pocket heavy," Putin said.