Ukraine faces speedy wheat exports

Already the annual export quota is more than half used up

Ukraine is likely to ship abroad most of its 2020-21 wheat export quota by March-April 2021, traders said Oct. 23.

Traders and the government have agreed that the volume of wheat available for export this July-June season must not exceed 17.5 million tonnes.

The Economy Ministry’s data showed on Friday that Ukraine had exported 10 million tonnes of wheat so far this season, or around 57 per cent of the quota.

Traders said an additional one million tonnes of wheat were due to be exported in the coming weeks and at least three million tonnes of wheat had already been contracted for future exports.

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“We can export 100,000 tonnes of wheat a month starting in March,” one trader said. “Our wheat is already too expensive.”

APK-Inform agriculture consultancy has said high demand from importers and the slow pace of winter wheat sowing had pushed Ukrainian milling wheat prices to a 21-month high of $255 per tonne f.o.b. Black Sea.

Farms had sown 6.2 million hec­tares of winter crops, or 76 per cent of the forecast as of Oct. 19. The area included 4.6 million hectares of winter wheat, or 76 per cent of the expected area.

Ukraine’s overall grain exports have fallen by almost 13 per cent to 14.8 million tonnes so far in the July-June season, Economy Ministry data showed.

Ukraine accounts for about 16 per cent of global grain exports and sold about 57 million tonnes of grain to foreign buyers in the 2019-20 season.

The Economy Ministry expects the 2020 grain crop to fall to about 68 million tonnes from 2019’s record of 75.1 million tonnes because of adverse weather.

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