Three more grain-laden ships have left Ukrainian ports after Russia threatened to suspend the Black Sea grain shipping deal.
Turkey and the United Nations have been working closely with Ukraine since Russia over the weekend pulled out of a deal to secure Ukrainian grain shipments to keep the passage of the grain corridor opened up this summer. Since the agreement was signed, millions of tons of Ukrainian grain have entered the global market, depressing global grain prices.
Russia has signaled for weeks that it may withdraw from the deal. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the deal benefited Western buyers at the expense of developing countries. Russian officials also complained that the West had promised to buy Russian agricultural products as part of the deal, but that promise had not been fulfilled. Moscow said over the weekend that it had decided to withdraw from the agreement after the attack on Russian-occupied Crimea.
Grain traders and U.N. officials had previously feared that if Russia pulled out of the deal, shipping companies would stop shipments for fear of being targeted by Russian troops. On Monday night, Russia threatened to board ships if they did not apply for permission from Russia before leaving Ukraine.
So far, though, these threats have not deterred shipowners. If shipments continue without Russian interference, Moscow’s influence on global grain markets will be diminished. Early in the war, the West accused Russia of blocking Ukrainian grain exports and using grain as a weapon.
Grain prices rose on Monday in the first trading day after Russia suspended the grain shipment deal, before easing slightly on Tuesday.
But in the future, the Russian threat could still unsettle shipowners and their insurers. Some shipping lines have already expressed concerns about whether insurers will cover it. Trade could be hampered if insurers pull out.
So far, the company has been able to insure ships and cargo on the route, although premiums have risen. In recent days, cargo ships entering and leaving Ukraine may have pre-insured.
“Looking ahead, I think with the rhetoric from Russia, very few shipowners would be interested in calling Ukraine,” said Ulrik Uhrenfeldt Andersen, chief executive of Golden Ocean Group Ltd., which shipped grain in the Black Sea before the Ukrainian war broke out. goods. Insurer Ascot Group said it would not offer underwriting but would honour all contracts until the end of last week as Russia negotiates with others over the future of the agreement.
Before the outbreak of the Ukrainian war, more than 95% of Ukraine’s agricultural products were exported through Black Sea ports. After the Russian invasion, that percentage dropped to zero. Since exports resumed in August, Ukraine has exported more than 9.2 million tonnes of wheat, corn, sunflower oil and other products through Black Sea ports.
Before the war, Ukraine exported about 10 percent of the world‘s wheat and was an important supplier to countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, where people are most vulnerable to rising food costs around the world. Economists say Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made the crisis worse at a time when the coronavirus pandemic, rising energy costs and supply chain problems have fueled a crisis in surging food costs around the world.
United Nations and Western officials have pushed back against Putin’s accusations that the food deal has benefited Western countries at the expense of poorer countries. The deal lowered world wheat prices, benefiting poorer countries. As of the end of September, 28 percent of Ukraine’s grain shipped via this route was destined for poorer countries, with ships going to Egypt, India, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere.
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