Exports of agri-food products from Ukraine in the first quarter of 2020 amounted to USD 5.7 billion, which is 6% more than in the same period last year.
This result has been achieved by increasing supplies in the following categories: fats and oils - by USD 235.1 million (+ 19%), finished products - by USD 74.8 million (+ 9%), crop products - by USD 49.3 million (+ 2%). Exports grew the most in terms of these categories: sunflower oil - by USD 193.1 million or + 17%, corn - by USD 148.6 million (+ 8%) and barley - by USD 58.7 million (+ 132%). At the same time, th supplies of rapeseed from Ukraine decreased by USD 69.1 million (-97%), soybeans - by USD 50.4 million (-19%) and wheat - by USD 25.2 million (-4%).
It is important to note that export of livestock products decreased by 15% and in January-March 2020 it amounted to USD 265.9 million. The decrease was stipulated by reduction of the supply of eggs from Ukraine by USD 13.1 million (-36%) and poultry meat by USD 10.5 million (-7%). This situation was caused by a partial ban on export of the specified products due to the outbreak of bird flu in Ukraine.
At the same time, import of agricultural products in January-March 2020 constitutes USD 1.7 billion that is 18% more than in the same period last year. Supplies of cheese grew by USD 26.3 million (almost two times), potatoes - by USD 19.8 million (12 times) and citrus - by USD 16.4 million (+ 21%).
‘It is worth noting that the prohibition on export of agri-food products under quarantine is going to reduce foreign exchange earnings. In order to stabilize the market, it was agreed to set the maximum export of wheat during the current marketing season amounting to 20.2 million tons. There are temporary restrictions on buckwheat export for the quarantine period caused by the shortage of this product in view of excessive excitement during the quarantine period and export prohibition for the major suppliers of buckwheat to Ukraine’, commented Andriy Martynenko, UCAB Analyst.
According to the expert, decline in grain prices on the world market is not so significant, since the beginning of this year the price (FOB) of barley has decreased by 3% and at the beginning of April is USD 180 / t. Whereas the price of wheat increased by 3% to USD 222 / t, corn price increased by 2% (USD 180 / t), which will lead to relatively sustained export prices. The price of oil for the same period fell by 14% amounting to USD 675 / t, consequently, the shrinkage of revenues in the second quarter will still take place. The devaluation of hryvnia will slightly reduce incentives for import of products, in particular dairy category, although at this stage it is not able to withdraw completely the economic attractiveness of import.