(Recasts with agriculture ministry statement that kept grain forecast unchanged)
MOSCOW, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Russia's agriculture ministry on Wednesday kept its grain export forecast for 2018/19 at 38-39 million tonnes, withdrawing an earlier lower forecast given by one of its officials.
Russian news agencies earlier quoted First Deputy Minister Dzhambulat Khatuov as saying the ministry had cut its grain export forecast for the 2018/19 marketing season that started on July 1 to 35 million tonnes.
A ministry representative told Reuters that Khatuov had mis-spoken.
In a later statement, the ministry quoted Khatuov saying Russia still expected to export 38-39 million tonnes of grain this season, including 34-35 million tonnes of wheat.
Traders have been keeping a close eye on Russia regularly changing its grain export estimates amid concerns the world's largest wheat exporter could limit exports later in the season.
Russian grain exports are up 20 percent from a year ago so far this season, Interfax quoted Khatuov as telling reporters in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk earlier on Wednesday.
Russia harvested a record grain crop of 135 million tonnes in 2017 and exported a record 52 million tonnes of grain, including 40 million tonnes of wheat, in the 2017/18 season.
This year, the country has so far harvested 114.2 million tonnes of grain before drying and cleaning from 97.7 percent of the harvesting area. (Reporting Polina Devitt; Writing by Tom Balmforth and Polina Devitt; Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)