Ukraine Minister Aims for Restriction-Free Wheat Exports

Ukrainian exporters may be able to ship wheat cargoes free of restrictions this year, according to Agriculture Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk.

Ukraine exported 10 million metric tons of grain including 5.2 million tons of wheat since July 1, Prysyazhnyuk said today. Ministry officials and traders will meet tomorrow to review stockpiles and an export limit currently set at 5.5 million tons. The country’s exportable surplus is 6.5 million tons, the head of the Ukrainian Grain Association, Volodymyr Klymenko, said on Nov. 9.

“I hope we will cope without restrictions,” Prysyazhnyuk told reporters at a weekly government meeting today in the capital, Kiev, referring to wheat. “Every 15 days we meet grain traders, revise our memorandum, take account of domestic stockpiles and potential exports and I think that so far we are going smoothly.”

Wheat futures in Chicago jumped as much as 3 percent on Oct. 24 after Reuters cited Prysyazhnyuk as saying shipments would be halted as of Nov. 15. No government decision to ban exports had been taken, Vitaliy Lukyaneko, a spokesman for Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, said later that day. Ukraine, along with Russia, restricted shipments in 2010 because of drought, helping push futures up 47 percent that year.

Drought may cut the combined wheat harvests in Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan by 37 percent this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has estimated.

Corn Exports

Ukraine has enough milling wheat for both domestic needs and reserves in the current marketing year, according to the country’s agriculture ministry. While exports will decline in November, that’s essentially because traders will ship corn, which is coming to the market “massively,” it said. About 12 million tons of corn may be delivered this season, it said.

“Food security is question No. 1,” Prysyazhnyuk said today. “We follow the agreements and the memorandum.”

Ukraine ranked eighth among world wheat exporters last season and was the fourth-biggest shipper of corn, USDA data show.

Wheat for March delivery gained 0.7 percent to $8.7175 a bushel today on the Chicago Board of Trade, rising for the first time in four days. Corn futures advanced 0.3 percent to $7.2825 a bushel.

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