The U.S. Grain Council (USGC) says it hopes for a speedy and peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis, but says the inability creates opportunities for additional U.S. exports to North Africa, the Middle East and China. The group says about 15 MMT of the projected 18.5 MMT of Ukraine's projected corn exports have already been shipped, leaving about 3.5 MMT in projected exports from now until June.
"Ports are open and vessels are loading but shipments are becoming increasingly difficult," said Tom Sleight, USGC president and CEO. "We're seeing farmers holding grain to hedge against a devaluing currency. We hope for a peaceful and speedy resolution of Ukraine's crisis, but the instability is creating opportunities for additional U.S. exports to North Africa, the Middle East, and China."
But USGC Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa, Cary Sifferath, says producers are holding grain to hedge against a devaluing currency and with corn planting season beginning in 30 to 45 days, credit availability may become an issue. "The economic instability will affect Ukrainian farmers looking to plant this year's crop," said Sifferath. "Ukraine is in a tough spot financially, and planting season is just around the corner. The council will continue to monitor this situation closely."
The council also notes the importance of strict adherence to trade standards to minimize the risk of trade disruptions. It reminds that Ukraine exports corn to the European Union and China, both markets in which biotechnology approval issues currently impede U.S. corn sales. "If those buyers turn to the United States, it is important that non-approved events be kept out of export channels," says USGC.