Ukraine cuts grain harvest forecast by 10mn tonnes to 68mn tonnes

Ukraine cuts grain harvest forecast by 10mn tonnes to 68mn tonnes
Ukraine's economics ministry cut the forecast for this year's grain harvest by 10mn tonnes to 68mn tonnes / bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews June 17, 2020

The Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine expects that the grain harvest in Ukraine in 2020 will exceed 68mn tonnes compared with the previous forecast of 65-68 tonnes, Interfax Ukraine reported on June 16.

"We expect more than 68mn tonnes of grain harvest. At first we had a more conservative forecast. Now we believe that the harvest may be bigger,” Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine Ihor Petrashko told journalists.

Experts had feared that a particularly dry spring would hurt the harvest, but rains arrived in the latter part of May and have alleviated the problem to some extent.

“We also forecast 20mn tonnes of oilseeds – sunflower, soybean, rape, 9mn tonnes of sugar beets, 20mn tonnes of potatoes and 9mn tonnes of vegetables," Petrashko added.

Ukraine has been enjoying bumper crops in recent years and is now vying with Russia for the title of “world’s biggest grain exporter.” Still, despite the rains, the new forecast is about 10mn tonnes down on the 78mn tonnes of grain harvest the ministry predicted at the start of the year, which was up on the 75.1mn tonnes Ukrainian farmers brought in a year previously.

At the same time, according to the minister, the ministry does not predict changes in the indicator for grain exports for next season and expects it to be at the current level.

"Carryover stocks, as we promised, will be up to 1.5mn tonnes of wheat by the end of June," the minister added.

The official forecast for grain exports remains at 58.5mn tonnes for this growing year, up from 50.4mn tonnes last year. However, if the harvest falls by 10mn tonnes year on year then that number is likely to be lower.

Petrashko also confirmed his intention to sign a memorandum on exports for the next season with participants in the grain market, in which the level of minimum balances for the main crops will be determined.