Grain traders in Ukraine are throwing thousands of tonnes of rotting crops
into the Black Sea as a protectionist trade embargo in what was once the
"breadbasket of Europe" extends into its fifth month.
The export restrictions, a populist move, have kept food prices low and
earned political points for the governing coalition, headed by Viktor
Yanukovich, the prime minister. But traders warn that the move could backfire
and damage the country's reputation as a reliable grain supplier.Ukraine, one of
the world's leading grain exporters, harvested about 34m tonnes from last
season's crop, 9% less than the previous harvest. Analysts are hopeful that the
quotas will be eased soon, to allow traders to boost exports from 5.5m to 8m
Competitors such as Kazakhstan
and Russia have captured market from Ukraine. Some traders, and the insurance
companies covering their losses, plan to retaliate with lawsuits targeting the
Andriy Klyuyev, Ukraine's deputy prime minister told
the Financial Times last week that export restrictions might be lifted by the
end of this month. However, the increasingly marginalized president has remained
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