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Ukrainian corn hits 5-month high on firm demand

London — Ukrainian corn has hit five-month highs as buyers seek to replenishstocks on the renewal and expansion of 2018 import licenses.

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Platts assessed 25,000 mt FOB Panamax port FOB Ukrainian corn at$170.25/mt Thursday, the highest since August 11 2017 when it was assessed at$171/mt.

Following a global glut of corn in Q4, 2017, demand for Ukrainian cornsank as traditional markets in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa soughtmore competitive origins such as South America and the US.

But given fresh import licenses, these markets' proximity to Ukraine andit being the off-season in South America, it is more economic to source fromthe major Black Sea producer at the moment, sources said.

Supply pressures in Ukraine due to logistical problems, a smaller cropyear-on-year and a holiday season lull have supported price increases.

"Some farmers are opting to hold onto their stock," a source said, inanticipation of higher prices.

February and March are expected to be very busy.

"There are plenty of Chinese and Korean specs on the market. We expectMarch shipments to be the biggest [of this current crop]," the source said.

Offers for H1 February were heard around $170.50/mt and H2 February$171/mt Thursday with a $1 carry into March and a further $1-$2 carry intoApril.

--James Colquhoun, james.colquhoun@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jeremy Lovell, jeremy.lovell@spglobal.com