The Ukrainian Grain Association (UGA) has agreed to limit the export of corn in the 2020/2021 MY to 24 million tonnes by the end of June in the grain memorandum, since given the association’s export forecasts and the practice of such memorandums, the practical implementation of such a limitation is unlikely.
“The introduction of the maximum corn export volume in the memorandum between the Ministry of Economy and business associations representing participants in the grain market is rather a symbolic step to ensure predictability and tranquility in the grain market,” the UGA said on its website.
The association emphasized the absence of grounds for statements about the likelihood of a shortage of corn on the Ukrainian market. According to its estimates and official statistics, with a harvest of this MY of about 30 million tonnes and internal needs of about 5 million tonnes, exports by mid-January amounted to about 10 million tonnes, of which 2 million tonnes was corn from the previous MY. The UGA also recalled that this year corn exports in mid-January lagged behind last year by almost 3.5 million tonnes.
The association predicts that in the future the rate of export will decrease, as Ukraine has already passed the peak period of export of this crop. The UGA also believes that high prices for corn and benchmarks for its export will give producers a positive signal to expand the area under this crop in 2021.
In addition, the UGA notes that for all the years of the memorandums and the similar restrictions contained in them with respect to wheat, they have never been applied in practice.
The Ministry of Economy and grain market participants have agreed on a maximum corn export volume for the 2020/2021 marketing year (MY) in the amount of 24 million tonnes and will amend the annex to the memorandum of understanding between the grain market participants, the ministry said in a statement following a meeting held on January 25.
“Now, according to the regions, the projected corn production is 30.3 million tonnes, which is one of the best corn yields in all years. The Ministry of Economy believes that there are no problems with exporting corn to foreign markets or a probable shortage of this crop in the domestic market,” Economy Minister Ihor Petrashko said.
The report indicates that, if necessary, the parties agreed to revise the approved maximum amount of corn allowed for export, after the publication of official statistics on crop production in 2020.
As reported, the associations of poultry and livestock breeders initiated the restriction of corn exports at the level of 22 million tonnes in 2020/2021 MY in the “grain” memorandum. They argue their proposal to limit exports by the need to guarantee the domestic market 7.5 million tonnes of corn for production of animal feed.
The Ukrainian Grain Association considers the volume of corn exports at the level of 24 million tonnes acceptable for the market participants and corresponding to their forecasts of the harvest of this crop, acting executive director of the association Serhiy Ivaschenko told Interfax-Ukraine. Earlier, the association opposed the restriction of corn exports at the level of 22 million tonnes, since, in its opinion, the real goal of the initiators of the restrictions was to create an artificial surplus in the domestic grain market to reduce prices.
One of the members of the American Chamber of Commerce told Interfax-Ukraine that the association discussed the possibility of limiting corn exports before making a final decision and agreed that there was no urgent need for it, but if such a limitation is introduced, then it should be set at the level of 24 million tonnes, but not 22 million tonnes as suggested by its initiators.
The Ukrainian Agribusiness Club (UCAB) has revised downward the forecast for the corn harvest this year from 32 million tonnes to 29.4-29.5 million tonnes under the optimistic scenario due to unfavorable weather conditions during July-August, and also taking into account the situation with harvesting in September and October in a number of regions of Ukraine.
According to a message from UCAB on Wednesday on Facebook, about 13 million tonnes of corn have already been harvested with an average yield of 5.18 tonnes per ha, in some regions corn has already been harvested from more than 50% of the sown area.
“Usually, farmers start harvesting first from less productive fields, so there is some hope, as well as statistical confirmation from the example of last year, when at the end of the harvest, the yield increases slightly. By the end of field work, according to optimistic forecasts, an average yield of 5.75 tonnes per ha is expected,” UCAB said.
According to the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club, unfavorable conditions have developed almost throughout the entire territory of Ukraine, however, the greatest reduction in the expected yield occurred in Cherkasy, Vinnytsia, Poltava, Kirovohrad and a number of southern regions. As a result of dry conditions and a lack of moisture in the soil, premature drying and maturation of plants is observed. During field surveys, insufficient fullness and relatively small sizes of corn ears are often detected.
UCAB’s expectations for the sunflower harvest have been reduced to 12.2 million tonnes from the forecast of 13.6 million tonnes in early September. According to calculations, the average yield is 2.2 tonnes per ha. The largest decline was due to the southern regions, where the production of this oilseed is focused, as well as the central ones.
According to UCAB, soybeans also suffered significantly from unfavorable conditions, so its gross yield is expected to be only 2.7 million tonnes, which is 30% less than last year. This significant decrease occurred, among other things, due to a decrease in the area under crops from 1.6 to 1.3 million hectares.
The analytical agency UkrAgroConsult predicts a wheat harvest of 25.9 million tonnes for 2020 with exports of 17.5 million tonnes and a corn harvest of 36 million tonnes with exports of 29 million tonnes.
“The assessment of export potential for wheat is quite consolidated – 17.5 million tonnes, this figure is fixed in a memorandum, an appendix to which has been recently signed. In any case, exports will be about 3 million tonnes lower than last year,” the UkrAgroConsult export for the grain market, Yelyzaveta Malyshko, said during the Black Sea Grain & Oil Trade 2020 international conference in Kyiv.
According to her, the start of the wheat export season was impressive, for example, from July 1 to August 28, some 4.16 million tonnes of wheat were exported, which is the highest figure for this period in the previous years.
“Now active export contributes to the fact that domestic prices for wheat in September are about $ 30 higher than last year and the demand remains. Expectations in this regard are quite optimistic. Forwards for December are now showing $ 225, but we cannot exclude autumn price deflection after the arrival of Canadian and then Australian wheat crop,” the expert said.
UkrAgroConsult’s estimate of the corn harvest for this year is 36 million tonnes.
The expert noted price expectations for corn are optimistic, however, a decrease in prices during the period of active harvesting cannot be ruled out.
Ukraine exported more than 20.5 million tonnes of wheat and 30.3 million tonnes of corn in the 2019/2020 agricultural year (July-June), President of the Ukrainian Grain Association (UGA) Mykola Horbachev has said. “The 2019-2020 grain season was successful. We produced a record number of grains and oilseeds. The grain and oilseeds harvest was a little over 98 million tonnes, which is an absolute record for Ukraine. A record amount of wheat was grown – more than 28 million tonnes. Wheat exports amounted to more than 20 million tonnes. Corn export exceeded all expectations. We exported more than 30 million tonnes. This year was successful,” he said at a press conference in Kyiv on Thursday.
The head of the UGA predicted that by 2026 Ukraine will produce 113 million tonnes of grain and oilseeds a year and export 70 million tonnes.
According to the UGA, export of grain and oilseeds in the 2020/21 season will be some 58.8 million tonnes.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in February revised upwards the forecast for export of corn from Ukraine in the 2019/2020 agricultural year (July-June) by 0.5 million tonnes compared with the January forecast, to 31 million tonnes, and the corn harvest – by 0.3 million tonnes, to 35.8 million tonnes.
According to the February report posted on the USDA website, the forecast for production and export of Ukrainian wheat remained at the January level – 29 million tonnes and 20.5 million tonnes respectively.
USDA in February did not change the forecast for production and export of Ukrainian barley leaving it at 9.5 million tonnes and 5 million tonnes respectively.
In general, grain forecast for the 2019/2020a agri-year was revised upwards by 0.39 million tonnes, to 75.43 million tonnes and exports – by 0.53 million tonnes, to 56.6 million tonnes.