USDA’s Economic Research Service reports Ukraine’s corn and wheat exports have almost returned to seasonal-average levels since the summer of 2022.
The change follows the Black Sea Grain Initiative to reopen the Black Sea shipping routes. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 led to elevated security risks and infrastructure damage, causing Ukraine’s seaports to be almost completely cut off from March through July. As global exportable supplies diminished, international wheat export prices spiked.
Signed in July 2022, the Black Sea agreement enabled the safe passage of Ukraine grain exports through three ports. That and ample corn and wheat stocks allowed Ukraine to export a larger combined volume of the two crops than the five-year average in September and October.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative has increased the opportunities for Ukrainian grain to leave the country and has relieved some price pressures internationally, but uncertainty remains as the agreement is set to expire in mid-March 2023 and may not be extended.