Ukraine ‘bans’ wheat exports, lifting futures
A clash between traders, which have been accelerating grain imports for fear of curbs, and a government keen to protect domestic supplies after a 30% slump in the domestic harvest came to a head on Friday with a ban which will take effect on November 15, merchants said.
Officials and traders agreed after the poor harvest to limit wheat shipments in 2012-13, which started in July, to 4.0m tonnes, and overall grain exports to 19.4m tonnes.
However, while the cap on wheat exports was last week raised to 5.0m tonnes, that looked incapable of accommodating even the existing pace of shipments, which merchants have accelerated for fear of trade restrictions.
As of October 8, Ukraine had shipped an estimated 3m tonnes of wheat so far in 2012-13, with a further 2m tonnes, at least, believed contracted for future shipment.
The immediate impact was to send Chicago wheat futures for December, which had posted small losses, to $8.83 ¾ a bushel, a gain of 1.7% on the day, before the contract gave back some of its gains, after Ukraine’s farm ministry failed to confirm the curbs.