Olena Hesova

Olena GesovaOlena Hesovagrain and oilseed market analyst at "UkrAgroConsult".

Specializes in the study of the major trends in the world grain and oilseed markets as well as in the grain market of Romania.




Analyst's publications:


Ukrainian wheat will be able to replace Australia’s one in the Indonesian market


According to February’s USDA forecast, Australian wheat exports may close this season at most at 10 MMT, i.e. at the lowest point since the 2007/08 season. The Department’s experts predict them to fall by 28% against MY 2017/18 (13.85 MMT).

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Romania: sunflower seed supplies to Turkey keep rising


Owing to adequate precipitation and expanded sown acreage, Romania harvested a record crop of sunflower seed in 2018 (up 18% on the year). Thereby the country reinforced its position of the top EU grower of this crop. Sunflower plantings were increased due to firm demand for Romanian sunflower seed from both EU and other countries, in particular Turkey.

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Romanian rapeseed exports to be the lowest since MY 2015/16


Adverse weather conditions appreciably reduced rapeseed production in Romania in 2018. The estimated rapeseed crop is 12% lower than in the previous season. Despite an acreage expansion driven by demand from EU countries, the average rapeseed yield turned out to be the lowest since the 2012/13 season, report UkrAgroConsult’s analysts.

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Who will become the world’s second biggest wheat exporter after Russia?


According to USDA estimates, wheat stocks in the top eight exporters (Australia, Argentina, Canada, the EU, the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan) will close the 2018/19 season at some 55 MMT, i.e. at the lowest level since MY 2013/14. At the same time, the U.S. share in this volume will set a few-year record of 48%, reports UkrAgroConsult.

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Romanian exporters of corn are opening new markets due to competition with Ukraine


2018/19 MY is the third consecutive season for Romania with the growth in corn production. Considering record corn yield obtained during the harvesting campaign 2018, UkrAgroConsult increased its estimate of Romanian corn production in 2018/19 MY.

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Brazil may take on Ukraine in the Egyptian and Iranian corn markets


In September, Brazilian corn exports totaled 3423.8 KMT that is down 42% from a record 5914.4 KMT in September 2017. Moreover, they were 7% below the five-year average not only due to this season’s decline in export potential. In August, the country’s exporters were still focused on soybeans, i.e. the corn export season in Brazil was just beginning.

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World wheat market in expectation of Argentine supply


In the current season, the key suppliers of Black Sea wheat – Russia and Ukraine – continue enjoying high export prices and strong global demand for their commodity.

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Black Sea corn crop to hit a record high


The corn harvest in the Black Sea region is gaining pace, and the yield figures only add to expectations of a bumper corn crop in the region, UkrAgroConsult’s analysts report.

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Current developments in the market of the most expensive coarse grain


Although barley export price increased in the 2017/18 season, global imports of the commodity closed this past season above expectations of many market experts. Another drop in the world’s crop in 2017 did not prevent major suppliers from expanding barley shipments by 5% against the previous season, UkrAgroConsult’s analysts note.

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Romania to reduce its rapeseed production and export potential


Romanian rapeseed exports set another record in the 2017/18 season, UkrAgroConsult’s analysts note. The country managed to substantially improve its export statistics in MY 2016/17 and 2017/18 owing to a steady expansion of rape plantings and favorable weather conditions for the formation of record yields.

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Wheat market in North Africa: share of Black Sea countries exceeded 50%


According to USDA estimates, North African countries reduced wheat imports to 27.5 MMT in MY 2017/18 following all-time record imports in the 2016/17 season (28.3 MMT). The reasons for the drop in foreign purchases included a 37% rise in own wheat production in North Africa.

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Black Sea sunseed production expected to set a record


The summer of 2018 in the Black Sea countries turned out to be more favorable for growth of spring crops than winter crops. Despite minor temperature deviations over the last month, the countries will get a heavier sunseed crop compared to last year. In Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova, this was contributed to by high precipitation rates throughout the summer. In Ukraine and Russia, the production increase stemmed not only from adequate amounts of rain for good yield formation, but also from further expansion of sunflower plantings.

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Romania. 2017/18 grain export summaries


Wheat. In July-June 2017/18 Romania exported 15% less wheat than the record shipments of the previous season. Exports were down on steep decrease on Vietnamese and Moroccan destinations as a result of tough competition from Russia and France. High demand from EU countries - Spain and Italy, partially compensated this slowdown. Moreover, we can see higher interest from African countries.

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Romania: favorable weather conditions improved corn crop prospects for 2018/19 season


The weather conditions for yield formation in spring crops across Romania considerably improved last month. Dryness of May and the first half of June gave place to rainfalls in all the growing regions. After the middle of June, precipitation rates in central, southern and northern parts of the country were more than twice as high as long-term normal values. Thus, only a small area in the Danube Delta is still exposed to drought now.

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Barley crop decline in Black Sea countries will support world prices in 2018/19 season


According to USDA’s July report, global consumption of barley in the 2018/19 season will still exceed its production in the top growing countries. It is worth pointing out that export prices at the start of the new season are appreciably higher than last year, even though the harvest is in full swing in some of the major growers. At the moment, prices are supported not only by all-time low barley carryovers but also by concerns about the size of the new crop.

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Romania: wheat crop in 2018 to be down from the previous two seasons


Unstable weather conditions continue reducing yield potential of winter crops in Romania. Increased air temperatures in May and June resulted in earlier ripening of wheat. In addition, precipitation rates in June were at least 50-100% above their long-term average all over the country. It was favorable for corn and sunseed, but may cause issues for quality of winter wheat, UkrAgroConsult’s analysts note.

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Pakistan stepping up pea imports from Black Sea countries


Latest news appeared that the Government of India has extended the restriction on pea imports (including yellow, green, Dun and Kaspa) to September 30, 2018. In April, India had limited pea imports to 100,000 MT for the April-June quarter, reports UkrAgroConsult.

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Romania. Sunseed crop and export prospects in MY 2018/19


According to the latest report of European Commission, in 2018 sunseed production in EU countries will decrease in average by 6.5% y/y to 9.73 MMT. Lower production is expected due to decline in sunseed sowing area to 4233 Th ha, which is 3% lower than 5-year average for the EU.

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Romania. Prospects of corn production and exports in 2018/19


According to the May forecast of European Commission, in 2018 EU corn seeding area is going to increase year over year by 1.2% to 8490 Th ha compared to last year. Area is expected to rebound in Spain after severe drought in summer 2017 and higher seeding prospects are envisaged for Romania and Hungary, which export corn to the third countries. As for France, which is the top exporter of corn to the domestic market of EU, seeding area is going to remain stable due to less attractive domestic corn prices.

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China became top buyer on the world barley market, ousting Saudi Arabia


USDA revised upwards its estimates of world barley exports in 2017/18 MY compared to initial forecasts, made in the first half of the season. May estimates were increased by 600 KMT up to 28 MMT. This is 7% higher than the five-year average.

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Romania. Wheat production prospects in season 2018/19


Winter wheat plays a key role in crop rotation of Romania, occupying nearly 38% of total cereals planted area in the country. Nevertheless, farmers’ discontent with low wheat prices offered by traders, as well as soil moisture deficit during the autumn sowing campaign caused some reduction of wheat acreage for the 2018 crop.

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Lentil exports from Kazakhstan down from last year


The interest of Kazakh farmers in lentil growing has increased sharply over the last two years. This crop’s plantings have expanded from 7 Th ha to 331.5 Th ha in the past three years. In view of this jump in lentil production, over 70% of its volume has been shipped abroad over the last two seasons.

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Turkey remaining the most important end market for Black Sea pulses


Turkey is a major participant of the international trade in pulses, being both an importer and exporter. The International Grains Council (IGC) estimates that the country retained its position of the world’s third largest pulse importer in 2017, when Turkey imported 16.2 MMT (16.1 MMT in 2016). The country’s share equaled 7% in 2017, the same as in 2016, whereas the top pulse buyer – India – reduced its share to 28% in 2017.

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Romania and Ukraine sharing the EU rapeseed market


Romanian rapeseed exports set a record last season, when they totaled 1400 KMT according to official data. The nation managed to achieve this not only owing to crop shortfalls in France and Poland, which are the top suppliers in the EU domestic market. Decreased competition from Ukraine, where total rapeseed production also declined, made it possible for Romania to expand its share in EU markets.

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Romania. High grain crop doesn`t mean record exports


In the first half of the current season Romania remained visible supplier of grains on the extra and intra EU destinations. Over July-December 2017/18 exports of key grain commodities – wheat, barley and corn were almost in line with last year pace, reports UkrAgroConsult.

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South American countries taking away end markets of Black Sea corn


As market participants expected, the first three months of the 2017/18 season were marked by a redistribution of key players in the world corn market. Growing supply from South American countries adversely affected deliveries not only from the top corn exporter – the USA (down 37% against September-November 2016/17), but also from Ukraine (-40%) and Russia (-29%).

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Romania. Good weather and improving growing technologies favor grain crops


Compared to last year average yield grew almost by 10% due to favorable weather conditions and improving growing technologies. Growth of average yield was seen not only in winter crops, but also in corn thanks to the required amount of precipitations in summer.

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Romania is a key EU sunseed exporter to the third countries


Romanian farmers are getting more and more interested in oilseed crops, devoting less acreage to grain crops. Thus, in 2017/18 MY grain crop area (wheat, corn, barley) was 6% lower than 5-year average.

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Ukraine stands first among barley exporters after four months of season 2017/18


USDA estimates that world barley exports will be 11% lower at 25.6 MMT in the 2017/18 season (-3.2 MMT compared to 2016/17) and 2.3 % below the five-year average.

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Romania – vital sunseed exporter to EU countries


Romanian farmers are getting more and more interested in oilseed crops, devoting less acreage to grain crops. Thus, in 2017/18 MY grain crop area (wheat, corn, barley) was 6% lower than 5-year average.

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Romania. Strong demand from non-EU countries prevents corn acreage from falling


During the last several seasons, the EU countries tend to decrease corn planted area due to successive summer droughts, relying more and more on corn imports from extra EU countries. Romania has the largest corn acreage in the EU, and it remains quite stable in this country (2500-2600 Th ha), despite the growing interest in oilseeds and protein crops.

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Romania is the top EU rapeseed exporter in 2016/17


Following the 2017/18 harvest results, the European Commission upwardly revised EU rape plantings against its preliminary estimates published in the spring. October’s estimate equals 6780 Th ha against 6620 Th ha expected in April 2017 (up 4% from the five-year average). Only the 2010/11 season witnessed a larger area (7000 Th ha). 

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Romania becomes a visible player among EU exporters of peas to the third countries


Over 2014-2017 sowing area of peas in EU grew up almost twice as a result of the new agreement on Common agricultural policy (CAP), which in particular fosters higher production of nitrogen-fixing crops and support of the protein crop sector. Those crops, which include dry pulses, protect the soil from erosion and improve soil organic matter.

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EU is ready to buy large volume of Ukrainian corn


According to the USDA estimates, in 2016/17 MY world corn importers decreased purchases by 2% against the previous season - to 137.1 MMT, despite the record world corn production.

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Romania – top EU exporter of barley to third countries at start of 2017/18


Romania becomes more and more important player on the grain market of EU. Last season the country was highly successful becoming the top wheat exporter to the third countries among other EU exporters, going neck and neck with Germany closer to the end of 2016/17 MY.  At the beginning of the current season the situation seems highly favorable for barley shipments.

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Ukraine may increase barley plantings


According to the USDA estimates, the global crop of barley will be below its global consumption for a second season in a row. This trend will lead to a substantial decrease in barley stocks in the world. Global barley inventories are expected to shrink to a 34-year low of 18.6 MMT by the end of MY 2017/18.

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Romania. Higher average yield of grain crops compensates for gradual decrease in sowing area


Second season in a row Romania decreases grain crop sowing area in favor of oilseeds.

Compared to last season, grain crop sowing area (wheat, barley and corn) decreased from 5067 Th ha to 5032 Th ha. Still, due to improvement in growing technologies, average productivity of grain crops continues to go up and compensate for lower sowing area.

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Europe needs Ukrainian corn


According to estimates made by the European Commission, EU countries reduced corn plantings for the 2017 harvest by 1.4% to 8460 Th ha. This trend has already been observed for a few consecutive seasons not only due to yield-raising improvement of growing practices, but also owing to the weather factor.

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What is pushing wheat up?


The first week of the new marketing year 2017/18 sprang price surprises on agri market participants. July wheat futures in Chicago closed Thursday at 519 cents/bushel, up 21% month-over-month. Its increase over last year is already almost 9%.

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Romania: lower sowing area will not allow gathering record high crop


UkrAgroConsult increased slightly its estimate of Romanian wheat yield in 2017/18 MY, which is now almost in line with record high productivity, achieved last season (4.05 MT/ha).

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Bangladesh, Egypt waiting for Black Sea wheat


The USDA estimates that this season’s global wheat exports will reach another record of 180.3 MMT (up 4.3% year-on-year) in view of bumper harvests in many top-exporter countries and low world prices.

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Promising markets for Ukrainian corn


In 2016/17, corn exports from Ukraine are forecasted to be up 14.3% year-on-year, at 19 MMT. Over September-April Ukraine exported 15.53 MMT of corn, which is 1.27 MMT more than over the same period last season.

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Barley market is tightest in 34 years!


The global downward trends in grain prices have affected barley significantly. This season’s barley prices were at a six-year low, UkrAgroConsult reports.

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Romanian barley S&D balance, 2017/18 season


According to UkrAgroConsult, in the 2017/18 season, Romanian barley crop is expected to decrease by 13% to 1670 KMT compared to record volume, obtained in 2016/17 – 1920 KMT. During the autumn sowing campaign in 2016 farmers did not manage to sow barley in the optimal terms due to the soil drought and early snow falls. Moreover, many farmers preferred to expand area in favor of more profitable rapeseed. Thus, barley planted area declined on average 9% to 462 Th ha y/y.

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Romania. Corn S&D balance, April 2017


According to preliminary estimates of Romania’s Ag Ministry, farmers in the country expanded corn planted area for the 2017 harvest to 2620 Th ha because of a shortfall in last year’s fall planting. As of today, planting has been completed almost all over the country in good weather conditions.

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Will French wheat lose for a second season in a row?


According to the European Commission’s estimates, EU countries will ship 8.7 MMT less wheat to third countries for the whole current season than a year ago: about 24 MMT against 32.7 MMT in MY 2015/16. This drop will be accounted for mostly by lower exports from France. At the same time, other exporting EU countries, including Romania, Germany, Poland, Bulgaria, managed to supply additional volumes to their key markets, France’s markets, and open up new vistas for themselves. It is worth noting that the Black Sea countries have also succeeded in increasing their presence in the EU market.

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South America and its new corn crop: a price apocalypse is coming!


The current corn export season has both benefits and drawbacks for Ukraine. So, for instance, exports to the EU are somewhat slower than last year, but Ukrainian traders are gaining ground in other markets, such as Egypt, South Korea, Iran and South Africa. They manage to realize Ukraine’s high export potential due to easing competition from Brazil in the first half of 2016/17 in view of shrinking Brazilian inventories of 2016-crop, UkrAgroConsult notes.

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Ukraine regaining its position in the European soybean market


According to USDA estimates, the EU will reduce soybean imports by 8% in 2016/17 against the previous season, to 13.8 MMT, in view of sufficient soybean carryovers and a hike in own soybean production in the EU.

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Romania: wheat crop and export prospects for 2017/18 season


Romanian wheat exports are to hit a record high this season. According to UkrAgroConsult data, Romania exported 4537 KMT of wheat in MY 2016/17 (July-December), or twice as much as at the same time last season.  In the period under review, shipments increased to almost all key destinations because of a competitive price of Romanian offers in the world market.

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Romania: are rapeseed production and exports to hit another high in 2017/18?


The European Commission estimates that the 2017/18 season will be more successful for the EU in respect of rapeseed production. The European rapeseed harvest may rise to 22.13 MMT (20 MMT in 2016/17) owing to favorable weather conditions in the top producing countries along with an expansion of this crop’s planted area to 6620 Th ha (6493 Th ha this season).

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Ukraine and the Iranian corn market: entry is free until June


Following the lifting of sanctions in January 2016, Iran resumed production of crude oil that facilitated the country’s economic growth and the build-up of export revenues. This resulted in the restoration of Iran’s agricultural sector, car manufacturing, foreign trade and transport system throughout 2016. The growing of some crops, in particular wheat, corn, and barley is subsidized by the government in the form of guaranteed prices for which it buys these crops for state reserves.

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Ukraine leaves Asian wheat markets


According to February estimates of Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), wheat production is estimated to have exceeded the record forecast in the December report.  Farmers have gathered 11 MMT more wheat (35.1 MMT, or +45% y/y) than in 2015/16 and have essential export surplus. Given the fact that key wheat export markets of Australia lay in the domain of Asia, Black sea countries, especially Ukraine, as well as USA and Argentina are currently focused on export success of Australian traders.

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EU: is interest in Ukrainian corn declining?


The top buyers of Ukrainian corn – EU countries – substantially slowed down its imports in the first half of the current season compared with 2015/16. According to February’s estimates made by the European Commission, this season’s corn imports to the EU must exceed last year’s volumes and total 13.7 MMT against 13.3 MMT in 2015/16. Some top importers in the EU are really boosting purchases of this commodity, but… not from Ukraine, UkrAgroConsult notes.

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Ukrainian sunseed meal ousting soybean meal in Pakistan’s market


Gradual economic growth (+4.6% in 2016) is under way in Pakistan, the world’s sixth most populated country (196 Ml people in 2016). Consequently, incomes of its population in is on the rise, too. This fuels a steady increase in demand for animal and dairy products in the country. At the same time, the Pakistani agricultural sector is unable to completely provide the required volume of feed components because of climate peculiarities.

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Ukraine ousting the EU from North African barley markets


In the first half of the 2016/17 season, world barley trade volumes lagged behind the previous two seasons in view of shrinking demand from top buyers. Major exporters reduced export barley supplies by 21%.

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Persian Gulf countries – growing export market for Black Sea and EU grains


Countries of Persian Gulf are catching the eye of major grain exporters as gradual depletion of water reserves and highly vulnerable productive land make these countries more dependent on imports of cereals. Thus, the largest representative of the region - Saudi Arabia is getting attractiveness for corn exporters due to lack of government subsidies for all water intensive crops. Instead, government provides financial subsidies for imported corn to poultry and dairy producers. Due to higher corn imports available, in 2017 domestic broiler production is expected to increase by 4.5% to 700 KMT (+4% in 2016).

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Ukraine outstripping EU countries in the barley export market


According to USDA forecasts, this season’s global barley trade volume will amount to 26.7 MMT, or less than in the previous two seasons. Compared with last season’s record, the export shipments will lower rather noticeably, on average by 12%. However, taking into consideration the pace of world barley exports in the first five months of the season, this decrease may appear even more substantial, reports UkrAgroConsult.

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Grain market: another season of record stocks and low prices – who is to blame?


Grain oversupply has been observed in the global market over the last four seasons, leading to growth of grain carryovers. Respective annual price drops with consequent reduction of market participants’ profits as a natural response of the market, UkrAgroConsult notes. At the same time, despite the long term period of low prices and attempts of some market players to decrease plantings of the least profitable crops, season 2016/17 was also marked with their bumper production. What or who prevents restoration of the world market balance, Olena Hesona, grain market analyst of UkrAgroConsult, notes?

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Ukraine squeezing out competitors in the Asian wheat market


According to USDA estimates, global wheat exports will increase 4.34 MMT in 2016/17 season, to a volume of 176.83 MMT. Taking into account that the current pace of world wheat exports is indeed faster than last year and wheat price is at a multi-year low, this forecast is quite realistic. The IGC reports that overall exports from major wheat supplier countries totaled 54.33 MMT in the first four months of 2016/17 season (July-October) that is up 4.45 MMT from last season. At the same time, the key sellers continue competing in outlet markets of Asia, Africa and the Near East

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European wheat consolidating its grasp on Asian markets


The season of 2016/17 was marked by another rich total harvest of wheat in many of major wheat exporting countries (the harvest even hit a record high in some of them). The exception is the EU, which harvested 16 MMT less wheat (144 MMT) than last year’s bumper crop, according to the USDA.

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EU corn market: competition is getting strong and more to come


Season 2016/17 was marked with second in a row low corn crop in top-producing EU countries – France, Romania, Italy and Spain. According to European Commission`s estimates, EU corn crop totaled 59.073 MMT in 2016/17, almost in line with last year volume  - 59.066 MMT at the expense of higher production in other top producers and in EU countries, which predominantly import corn.

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Ukraine versus Argentina and Brazil on the corn export market


In 2015/16, corn exports from Ukraine were down 11.4% year-on-year, at 16.76 MMT. The corn harvest decrease was the main factor that slashed deliveries to all the key destinations except for the EU – on the contrary, Ukraine managed to boost exports to Europe by 44.4% to 8484 KMT.

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Romania increases poultry meat exports due to high soybean meal imports


After entering EU in 2007 Romanian animal-breeding sector encountered various problems, including    tough competition on the domestic EU market between producers of high-quality and reasonably priced meat, as well as with the necessity  to reorganize their own production in accordance with the new EU standards.

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Black Sea region ousts EU and USA from the traditional wheat markets


Second season in a row Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan exported record high volume of wheat, leaving behind such top-exporters as USA and EU countries, informs UkrAgroConsult.

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Argentina returns: sunflower oil exports to Asia are on the rise


According to the Agriculture Ministry, wheat planted area for the 2017 crop will remain at the previous year's level – 6198 Th ha, reports UkrAgroConsult. As a reminder, last year winter wheat acreage was significantly smaller than many-year average, which is nearly 6700 Th ha.

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