5 Oct 2010 16:51

Grain-trading in Ukraine at virtual standstill

KYIV. Oct 5 (Interfax) - The recent announcement Ukraine might introduce a quota system for grain exporting has brought trading on the domestic grain market to almost a complete halt.

President of the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation Leonid Kozachenko said at a Tuesday press conference in the Capital Kyiv that such announcements make procurement not possible. "No one is buying grain now, no one knows how to do it - to buy, and then not to sell, because there will be a quota," Kozachenko said.

However, grain exporting at ports has almost entirely been freed, and idled ships carrying grain are beginning to set sail, Kozachenko said. "In the past two weeks customs has not been holding up shits. They have started to move," he said.

Ukraine could well export 13-14 million tonnes of grain during the current agri-year, which would allow it to have about 3-4 million tonnes in inventory on July 1 of next year, Kozachenko said. If carry-over stocks turn out to be significantly greater, prices could collapse by the start of the harvesting.

Ukraine could impose grain export quotas, depending how much grain the country has available, and a decision could be reached as early as next week, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told a press conference in Kyiv last week.

"The government is assessing how much grain is available, and a decision on how much it can export will follow," Azarov said.

Azarov said he ought to know how much grain will be available by the end of this week, and a decision whether to restrict exports or not might be reached next week.

Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Slauta said at the end of August that the government was not planning to impose grain export quotas for time being.