Ukraine grain exports projected to fall

Ukraine's grain exports for the new season could fall by up to 22%, due to the threat of "cold conditions" to corn, not to mention the fallout from the country's political crisis, local experts predict.

The Ukrainian Agribusiness Club estimated at 26 mln -27 mln tonnes Ukraine's grain exports in the 2014-15 season, which is a drop of 6.3 mln -7.3mln tonnes on year-to-year comparison.

The fall in exports is in line with a drop of 6.5 mln -7.5 mln tonnes the industry association has forecast for the country's grains harvest this year, to 55 mln -56 mln tonnes, looking particularly downbeat for the prospects of corn output.

Ukraine's corn harvest will fall to 24.5 mln-25.5 mln tonnes this year, from levels in 2014 which hit a record 30.9 mln tonnes, according to forecasts.

The club said its forecast reflected in part "cold weather conditions in most Ukrainian regions", which would depress the corn yield to levels "worse than expected". Also the ongoing armed conflict in South-East regions of the country will contribute to these figures.

However, the forecast also reflected the weakness of the hryvnia (Ukraine's national currency), down 30% this year thanks to the country's political turmoil, which has forced growers to reassess use of imported crop inputs, "which in turn could lead to a decrease in primary crop yield", said Igor Ostapchuk, the spokesperson of the Club.

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