Drop to two-month lows comes after Russian president’s statement on Ukrainian exports
World grain prices fell to April levels following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s promise to ensure the safe export of Ukrainian grain through Russian-controlled Black Sea ports.
Wheat was trading at $10.4 a bushel (27.2 kg) on Friday, according to trade show data from the Chicago Board of Trade. It was its lowest price since April 7, when it was listed at $10.2 a bushel, and a 10% decline from its all-time high in mid-May.
Feed corn prices also fell this week, falling to $7.27 a bushel.
Grain prices rose last month on fears that the ongoing Russian military operation could prevent Ukrainian grain exports from reaching buyers. Western countries have accused Russia of hampering exports, but Moscow has repeatedly said it was not responsible and that ships carrying Ukrainian grain could not leave ports due to mines placed in the area by Kyiv forces. Putin again said on Friday that Russia was in no way responsible for the delay in shipments and promised to help with the passage of ships.
“As for the export of Ukrainian cereals, we do not intervene in that… We are not the ones who mined the passages to the ports. Ukraine exploited them. I have already said several times to all our colleagues: [Ukraine] should clear mines and allow ships loaded with grain to leave ports. We guarantee a peaceful passage without any problem“, Putin said during an interview with the Rossiya 24 TV channel. He also noted that there are several other ways to export grain, including through the ports of Berdyansk and Mariupol, which are under Russian control, or via the Danube, via Hungary, Poland or Belarus.
Fears over the fate of Ukrainian grain have led to warnings of food insecurity and hunger in recent weeks, especially in poorer countries. According to Coldiretti, the Italian association representing agricultural producers, Ukrainian ships must be allowed to leave ports as soon as possible, especially as the country’s warehouses will soon have to accommodate the new crop.
“The departure of ships from Black Sea ports means the emptying of Ukrainian warehouses where more than 20 million tonnes of cereals are stored, including wheat, barley and corn intended for export… [ship] the blockade increases the risk of riots and famineColdiretti said in a statement posted Friday on its website.
Ukraine ranks sixth among world wheat exporters. Together, Russia and Ukraine supply almost 30% of the wheat exported worldwide. According to Coldiretti, countries like Egypt, Turkey, Bangladesh and Iran buy more than 60% of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine, while Lebanon, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya and Pakistan are also heavily dependent on supplies from both countries.
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