EU bulk exports: Robust Harvest Falls Short of 2019 numbers

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2019 was a record breaking year for Ukrainian grain crops, netting a crop of 75 million tonnes. Since then, the country has endured drought and the COVID-19 pandemic which prompted the Ukrainian Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade, and Agriculture to limit grain exports in April to ensure adequate domestic supplies of wheat in an effort to stabilize domestic bread prices. A drop in exports was planned, but favorable rain conditions in May had us wondering if maybe the coveted export could make a comeback and put up strong numbers to end the year.

By November, Ukrainian producers harvested a reported 58.3 million tonnes of grain and the ministry projected the grain crop would finish the year at about 68 million tonnes. Our data shows a steep increase in capesize bulkers at ports in Ukraine during the fall export season, but traffic has declined since then.

Bulk ships in the Northern Black Sea and Dnieper River also increased in November and then slowed down:

The same pattern was true with capesize vessels:

Even with the robust numbers of fleets back in March and April responding to a bustling wheat export season marked by a nearly 50% increase in wheat exports, the Ukraine’s harvest fell short of the 2019 harvest. Egypt and China remain as the two leading importers of wheat from the Ukraine.

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