Analysts Worry About Ukraine’s Crop Production, Export Impact Amid War


By Chris Clayton, DTN Ag Policy Editor

DENVER (DTN) — U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is tamping down concerns about some of the impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on global agricultural markets, but analysts and economists see high volatility and market risks if grain and oilseed flows from Ukraine are halted by the war.

Vilsack on Tuesday, speaking to DTN by phone, reiterated comments he made last week that the agricultural production and export situation for Ukraine is uncertain going forward. He said it’s premature to project what will happen in such a fluid crisis.

“We take a bit of a deep breath here because I think the situation doesn’t lend itself to clarity at this point in terms of the impact and effect on production, who will be impacted, for that matter, and what the impact may be on exports,” Vilsack said.

The secretary added that Ukraine primarily exports to North Africa, the Middle East and China.

“The biggest areas of concern would be the Middle East and North Africa that really do need those products in order to be able to feed their people,” he said. “We want to make sure that we’re in a situation in response to that. I think it’s just a little bit premature to begin opining about precisely what’s going to happen here because it’s a very fluid situation.”

The immediate impacts continue to show up in the futures markets with May corn up the 35-cent daily limit Tuesday, while May soybeans closed 53 1/4 cents higher. The May KC wheat contract closed up its 50-cent daily limit, at $10.03 on Tuesday, the highest for the May KC wheat contract in a decade.

“Obviously, the recent meteoric rise in wheat prices is coming from the Russian attack on Ukraine and all the fears and possibilities that go with it,” DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman noted in his daily closing grain comments.

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