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Russia says may not extend Black Sea grain deal beyond May 18: TASS


Russia blames UN, Ukraine for backlog of shipments

Demands resolution of five 'systemic' issues

Grain deal last renewed on March 18

  • Author
  • Sampad Nandy
  • Editor
  • Richard Rubin
  • Commodity
  • Agriculture Energy Transition
  • Topic
  • Food Security War in Ukraine

Russian may not extend its Black Sea grain deal with Ukraine beyond May 18 unless five "systemic" issues are resolved, Russia's foreign ministry said April 13, according to that country's TASS news agency.

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The deal between Russia and Ukraine, first signed July 22, had resumed grain and fertilizer exports through the Black Sea that had stopped since Russian invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. It was brokered by the UN and Turkey, was scheduled to expire Nov. 19. but has so far renewed twice, the last time on March 18 for 120 days. However, Russia had wanted the deal for only another 60 days and has now returned to that demand, according to TASS.

According to a ministry statement cited by the news service, Russia wants to reconnect its Rosselkhozbank (Russian Agricultural Bank) to the SWIFT international payment gateway, resume supplies of agricultural machinery, spare parts and maintenance service to the country.

Russia also wants the lifting of restrictions on insurance and reinsurance for ships and cargoes, guarantees of access to its Black Sea ports, restoring the Tolyatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline and the unblocking foreign assets and accounts of Russian companies related to the production and transportation of food and fertilizers.

The Russian ministry said the UN Secretariat was distorting data and facts about Ukrainian food exports.

"The UN statement for the media was triggered by the failure to carry out inspections within the framework of the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul for the first time ever since the grain deal was launched," the ministry said.

There are 28 ships with more than 1 million mt of food products awaiting inspections in Turkish territorial waters under the grain deal, the ministry said.

"However, the UN staff at the Joint Coordination Center, which is responsible for the inspection plan, has refused to draw up such a schedule, trying to support the Ukrainians' demands for the registration of ships engaged in the initiative," it said.

Any stoppage of trade, under the agreement, may tighten grain supplies globally in marketing year 2022-23 (July-June).

The US Department of Agriculture, in its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report April 11, has pegged Russia's wheat exports for MY 2022-23 at 45 million mt, compared with 33 million mt in previous year.

S&P Global Commodity Insights analysts have forecast Russian wheat exports in MY 2022-23 at 44 million mt.

For Ukraine, the USDA has estimated wheat exports at 14.5 million mt in MY 2022-23, against 18.84 million mt in the previous season. S&P Global, meanwhile, forecasts Ukraine's wheat exports for MY 2022-23 at 15 million mt.

The USDA has estimated Ukraine's corn exports at 25.5 million mt for MY 2022-23, against 26.98 million mt seen for MY 2021-22.

Platts, part of S&P Global, assessed Russian 12.5% FOB wheat prices at $275/mt and Ukrainian 11.5% FOB wheat at $260/mt on April 13, both unchanged on day. Platts assessed Ukrainian corn FOB at $224/mt, also unchanged.