Ukraine’s weekly grain exports hit highest level since ports re-opened

Total shipments since July 1 reach 8.6 million tonnes

Ukrainian grain exports during the week ending September 30 reached the highest level since the grain corridor deal was signed and the ports of Great Odesa were opened, an official government notice showed last Friday.

During the weekly period, 1.34 million tonnes of grains left the country, pushing the total exports since July 1, when the marketing year officially started, to 8.6 million tonnes.

However, the figure was still 40% behind last year’s figures - a significant lag compared to the results on the same date.

Corn exports

Corn continued to be the dominant commodity, with weekly exports totaling 643,000 tonnes – up 55% week-on-week. The total corn exports so far reached 4.8 million tonnes, a threefold increase compared to the same period in 2021.

Spain took the leading position as the main importer of Ukrainian corn in September, with 367,417 tonnes, followed by Romania (275,246 tonnes), Italy (262,587 tonnes), Hungary (162,630 tonnes), and Egypt (152,480 tonnes).

The figures also revealed an 83,026 tonnes cargo that moved to China.

That comes as Ukraine still has huge corn stocks from the past harvest that have not been able to move while deep sea ports were blocked.

As such, traders have been trying to export as much as possible while the grain corridor is functioning prior to the arrival of the new harvest.

The data also came as Ukrainian corn remains the cheapest origin at the moment, a dynamic that brought demand from European Union buyers as the closest, cheapest and most convenient option.

Wheat exports

During the week, wheat exports increased by 43% to 554,00 tonnes pushing the total to 3 million tonnes – a dramatic drop compared to last year’s result of 8.9 million tonnes at the same stage.

During September, Spain and Turkey continued to be the leading destinations, with shipments at 379,044 tonnes and 380,876 tonnes, respectively, followed closely by Romania (220,373 tonnes) and Bangladesh (159,366 tonnes).

Ukraine has already finished its wheat harvest and gathered 19.2 million tonnes, which - given forecasts for domestic consumption stand at around 8 million tonnes - leaves an export potential of 11 million tonnes, without taking into consideration any stocks left over from the 2021-22 crop.

Barley exports

Barley exports through the period more than doubled to 140,000 tonnes exported, pushing total exports to 762,000 tonnes, which accounts for only 20% of what was shipped at the same time a year back.

Spain was also the leading destination for barley, with a figure of 169,254 tonnes, followed by China (90,114 tonnes) and Romania (75,333 tonnes).

According to agriculture ministry data, the total barley export potential stands at around 2.5 million tonnes for the 2022-23 marketing year, as 5.5 million tonnes was harvested, while domestic usage is forecasted at around 2.5-3 million tonnes.

For now, the corridor deal continues to work and is expected to continue running through to its final scheduled date of November 20, with an automatic extension for the same 120-day period if all parties continue to agree.

However, more recently, concerns have been raised in the market about the future of the deal as the Russian president has said that he does not see the deal working both ways, meaning that conditions for Russian grain and fertilizer exports haven’t changed, and the pace remains sluggish.

There is also uncertainty over the corridor amid the ongoing mobilization in Russia and the expectation for further escalation of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

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