War hampers Black Sea exports, importers seek alternative sources of wheat and maize – food inflation concerns rise • Agriculture Policy News

Los Angeles Times writers Nabih Bulos, Jaweed Kaleem and Henry Chu reported on the front page of Sunday’s newspaper that, “As a tense Ukraine waited for daylight early on Sunday, military forces and thousands of armed volunteers fought hard for protect your capital against Russian troops after a day of explosions and gunfire rocked parts of the city, leaving a missile-hit high-rise tower partially destroyed and residents crowding into subway stations to shelter.

The LA Times article stated that “Some signs suggested Ukrainian fighters were successful beyond Russian expectationswho, according to US officials, sent the majority of the roughly 190,000 troops he had amassed near Ukraine’s borders.

“Ukrainian Forces Hold City Amid Russian Onslaught”, by Nabih Bulos, Jaweed Kaleem and Henry Chu. Los Angeles Times (February 27, 2023).

“The Russians” were frustrated by what they saw a very determined resistance“, a senior US Department of Defense official said on Saturday.”

Also on Sunday, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Robyn Dixon, Chico Harlan, Rachel Pannett, Annabelle Timsit and Jennifer Hassan reported to the Washington Post Online that “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that Ukraine and Russia would conduct the first diplomatic talks since the invasion launched by the Kremlin, the delegations of the two countries meeting at the Ukrainian border with Belarus. The two countries would meet near the Pripyat River “without preconditions”, Zelensky’s office said in a Telegram message.

The Post article added that “but hostilities remained intense, with street fighting in Ukrainian cities and an announcement by the Russian President Vladimir Poutine Sunday that he had put his nuclear deterrent forces on high alertattributing this decision to “aggressive statements” by the West against Russia. »

Meanwhile, Will Horner, Alistair MacDonald and Chao Deng reported in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday that “Russia forays to the south and east strike at the in the heart of the most productive wheat-growing regions of Ukrainewhich span the southern half of the country, from Kharkiv on the eastern border with Russia to Odessa on the Black Sea coast.

USDA – Foreign Agricultural Service. International Production Assessment Division. Agricultural production maps.

Fighting shouldn’t have much impact on planting or harvesting crops, according to Mike Lee, owner of Green Square Agro Consulting, a crop forecasting firm specializing in the Black Sea region. Wheat, for example, is sown in September and October and harvested in July and the following months.

USDA – Foreign Agricultural Service. International Production Assessment Division. Agricultural production maps.

“However, if the situation on the ground evolves to a position where farmers cannot apply pesticides or fertilizers to their wheat, which will begin in Marchthat could rreduce yield by up to a thirdassuming they can harvest in JulyMr. Lee said.

The Journal’s editors pointed out that “Beijing has made Ukraine a centerpiece of its efforts to diversify grain supplies and increase food security. Chinese corn demand hit an all-time high after Beijing encouraged domestic producers to move into pig production.

Ukraine exported a record 8.2 million tons of corn to China in 2021, accounting for nearly 30% of China’s total corn imports. Ukraine accounted for up to 86% of Chinese corn imports in 2019. Ukraine also exports barley and sunflower oil to China.

John Dizard, Financial Times columnist said on Saturday that “some would suggest that other grain-growing regions could simply plant more to compensate for the loss of Black Sea exports, but that would take time and depend on readily available fertilizers.

“And since Russia banned the export of nitrogen fertilizer until April and China the export of phosphate fertilizer until at least June 2023greater grain production from other producing regions is even more problematic now.”

Likewise, Bloomberg writers Elizabeth Elkin and Allison Nicole Smith reported late last week that “It’s not just threats to grain shipments that could fuel inflation. Russia is also a major low-cost exporter of almost all types of fertilizers. It’s hard to overstate the importance of fertilizers in the food supply chain – virtually every plate of food you touch got there with the help of fertilizer. If global trade is disrupted, it will mean higher costs for farmers around the world and, therefore, more food inflation.”

In a separate Bloomberg News article on Friday, Elizabeth Elkin reported this, “Fertilizer prices are skyrocketing fearing that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will reduce global supply.

“People’s Nitrogen Fertilizer Prices urea in new orleans jumped 29% at $705 per short ton on Friday, a record increase in the gauge’s 45-year history.”

“Nitrogen Fertilizer Jumps Record High on Russian Supply Problems”, by Elizabeth Elkin (February 25, 2023).

And Vivian Yee and Aida Alami reported in Saturday’s New York Times that “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this week threatens to weigh more heavily on Middle Eastern economies already overwhelmed by the pandemic, drought and conflict. As usual, it is the poorest who have suffered the most, given the inflated food costs and the scarcity of jobs — a situation reminiscent of the period before 2011, when soaring bread prices helped propel anti-government protesters onto the streets in what became known as the Arab Spring.”

Saturday’s article noted that, “In Egyptin the world leading wheat importerthe government was moving in the wake of the Russian invasion to find alternative grain suppliers. In Moroccowhere the worst drought in three decades was driving up food prices, the Ukrainian crisis was expected to exacerbate the inflation that caused protests to burst. Tunisia has been are already struggling to pay for grain shipments before the conflict breaks out; war seemed likely to complicate the cash-strapped government’s efforts to avert impending economic collapse.”

“War in the world’s breadbasket leaves big buyers looking for grain”, by Aine Quinn and Megan Durisin. Bloomberg News (February 26, 2023).

At the end of last week, Reuters editors Michael Hogan and Gus Trompiz reported that “grain exporters are looking for alternative sources of wheat and corn as a Russian invasion cuts Ukrainian supplies, European Union producers Romania and France used to cover some nearby loads, traders said on Friday.

However, Bloomberg writers Aine Quinn and Megan Durisin reported on Saturday that “However, the outsized role the Black Sea plays in world grain markets means that alternatives may be limited. Global grain stocks are already shrinking, making it harder to make up for lost supplies.

On Sunday, Reuters writer and Dmitry Zhdannikov reported that “Russian exports of all petroleum and metal commodities to cereals will be seriously disturbed by new Western sanctions, dealing a blow to the Russian economy and hurting the West with soaring prices and inflationsaid traders and analysts.

“The United States and its allies decided on Saturday to block the access of certain Russian banks to the SWIFT international payment system as further punishment to Moscow as it continues its military assault on Ukraine.