Ukraine has, in the latest twist in its saga of wheat export restrictions, said there is no need for a ban for now, although traders questioned whether the change in tack would impact shipment much.
Ivan Bisyuk, Ukraine deputy agriculture minister, signalled that the threat of a ban remained intact, saying that the country would consider "necessary measures" on wheat exports "if a critical shortage of food grain appears".
However, in comments to news agency Interfax Ukraine, he added that "at the present moment, we see no critical state with food grains", despite a strong pace of exports so far in 2012-13, which has threatened to deplete wheat supplies weakened by a drought-affected harvest.
The government was also reported by merchants to have lifted to 5.5m tonnes, from 5.0m tonnes, an informal ceiling on wheat shipments.
The comments follow contradictory government statements and weeks of speculation on a ban, the prospect of which attracted international criticism.
The Gasc grain authority in Egypt, the world's top wheat buyer, cautioned Ukraine over damaging its reputation as a reliable supplier of wheat, while the European Commission warned over the impact of curbs in stoking world grain prices.
Nonetheless, traders held doubts over whether Wednesday's move would make any significant difference to supplies available to the world market.
Richard Feltes, at US broker RJ O'Brien, said that "Ukraine is unlikely to export wheat after mid-November despite [the move].
"Call it what you want but the reality is that exporters have agreed to limit wheat exports."
Merchants in Ukraine have already shipped, or booked for export, 5.4m tonnes of wheat up to mid-November, according to market estimates.
Wednesday's announcement initially prompted a slight retreat in Chicago wheat prices, before the results of a tender by Egypt, the top importer of the grain, showed US supplies as competitive with those from Europe and Russia.
Ukraine supplies were not offered to the tender.