UN Black Sea Grains Deal Continues Without Russia
LONDON (Reuters) – Grain was flowing out of Ukraine at a record pace on Monday as part of a United Nations-led initiative to ease global food shortages despite Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in the scheme.
Russia said on Saturday it was withdrawing from the deal, which ensured the safe passage of grain exports from three Ukrainian ports, after what it said was a major Ukrainian drone attack on its fleet in Crimea. .
Other participants continued with the deal despite Russia’s withdrawal while France said it was working to boost overland grain exports from Ukraine in collaboration with other European Union states.
Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain exporters and the conflict with Russia led to the closure of its seaports in February, driving up food prices and contributing to a sharp rise in acute hunger in the world.
The agreement, signed on July 22, has helped ease the crisis with more than 9.5 million tonnes of corn, wheat, sunflower products, barley, rapeseed and soybeans exported under the pact. .
A record 354,500 tons of agricultural products were transported by ships leaving Ukrainian ports on Monday as part of the Black Sea grain deal, a spokesman for the Odessa military administration said. .
“Civilian freighters can never be a military target or taken hostage. Food must flow,” tweeted Amir Abdullah, the UN official coordinating the program.
Turkey, which helped broker the deal, remained committed to the deal which involves inspection of cargoes at a joint coordination center in Istanbul.
“Even if Russia behaves hesitantly because it has not received the same benefits, we will resolutely continue our efforts to serve humanity,” President Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech.
Russia said Monday it would be risky for Ukraine to continue exporting.
“In conditions where Russia talks about the impossibility of guaranteeing the safety of navigation in these areas, such an agreement is hardly achievable, and it takes on a different character – much more risky, dangerous and not guaranteed,” he told Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the press. .
WHEAT PRICES ARE GOING UP
Wheat prices rose Monday, climbing about 6% to $8.78 a bushel in Chicago, but remained well below the high of $13.63-1/2 set in early March shortly after the dispute began. .
The strong pace of wheat exports from Russia, which harvested a record crop this summer, helped bolster supplies on the world market.
Consulting firm Sovecon estimated on Monday that Russia will export 4.5 million tonnes of wheat in October, up from 2.8 million in the same month last year.
Corn prices rose more than 2% to $6.96 a bushel in Chicago on Monday, while soybean oil rose about 1.6% to 72.96 cents a pound.
Ukraine is a major maize exporter and there were fears that shipments to the European Union would be disrupted.
“As far as Europe is concerned, corn is a bigger problem than wheat, because we are entering the peak Ukrainian corn season in November,” said a grain trader.
Analysts have warned that although global agricultural commodity prices have reached record highs in recent months, local food retail prices remain high and could now face a further rise.
“Typically, it takes around two months for rising grain prices to trickle down the supply chain and impact consumers at the retail level,” said a Sydney-based analyst.
“But food processors don’t have a lot of forward coverage, so it’ll probably be a lot faster.”
Reporting by Reuters offices, Writing by Nigel Hunt, Editing by David Evans