`` Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday abruptly extended the grain export ban by at least several months from the end of this year because farmers and wholesalers sent grain prices up by holding the latest harvest. Putin's decision, made at a regular session of the Presidium, the downsized Cabinet, threatens to further undermine Russia's hard-won status as the world's third-largest grain exporter. But Putin appeared intent on stabilizing the domestic grain market, still reeling from the worst drought in decades despite an export embargo from Aug. 15.''

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