TOP 10 Wheat Exporters from Ukraine in 2018

The year 2018 did not become a record year for wheat exporters, yet the largest traders still have something to be proud of. By the data of the State Statistics Service of Ukraine (SSSU), last year, export supplies of wheat reached 16.37 million tons (including meslin).

In the history of Ukrainian wheat exports, this is the honourable third place. More than 17 million tons of supplies were only delivered in the previous two years.

Although in general, exporters stand firm. Three years ago, 14 million tons of wheat were the unachievable volume for grain exporters. And until 2013, Ukraine traded abroad less than 10 million tons of main grains. For comparison: in 2008 grain deliveries totalled 7.5 million tons.

Wheat production in Ukraine (click for full resolution)

In 2018, the companies' potential for further increasing their wheat exports was limited by crop volumes. According to the preliminary data of the SSSU, last year Ukrainian companies harvested 19.5 million tons of wheat on 5 million hectares, and the cumulative wheat crop in Ukraine (including private households) stood at 24.57 million tons. This volume is 6 per cent lower from 2017 (26.16 million tons). However, the overall trend is maintained. Ukraine is still one of the top six exporters of wheat on the world market.

At the same time, wheat is second only to corn in the structure of plant products export from Ukraine, and in agro-export as a whole, wheat shipments cede only to sunflower oil and corn. The share of wheat in 2018, according to the SSSU, in terms of value accounted for 30.4 per cent of crop exports and was worth USD 3 billion. That is, the average price per ton of exported wheat in 2018 was USD 183.5. In a historical perspective, this is a mediocre performance since the prices for wheat on the world market have dropped strongly a few years ago. In 2011, for example, according to the State Statistics Service, the average export value of wheat was USD 271.

Wheat exports brought companies 15 per cent more gross revenue per ton as compared with 2017 (USD 159.5 per ton — SSSU).

As for the geography of Ukrainian wheat exports, the key importers have not changed over the past year. More than half of the grain is exported to Asia (8.78 million tons, 53.6 per cent). Africa is the second largest market with 5.95 million tons of imports (36.3 per cent).

Much less Ukrainian wheat is shipped to Europe — in 2018 it accounted for 1.46 million tons of deliveries or 8.9 per cent. Only 1.1 per cent of wheat was imported by the USA, and the CIS countries import wheat from Ukraine in tiny volumes — 0.007 per cent.

Key global wheat producers, importers and exporters (click for full resolution)

Ten years ago, the situation was quite the contrary. Europe dominated the Ukrainian wheat exports. Asia and Africa held second and third positions. And the volume of wheat exports to the CIS was 430x higher than the present (2008: 3 per cent).

In terms of countries-importers, the export of 2018 was in the format of the "big dozen". The share of the twelve largest importing countries accounted for 80.2 per cent of the total supply (more than 13 million tons). At the same time, 8.17 million tons, that is, almost half of all exported wheat were “divided” among five countries — Indonesia, the Philippines, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

A distinctive feature of 2018 was the high demand from Indonesia. The country bought 2.6 million tons (almost 16 per cent) of Ukrainian wheat and exchanged places with Egypt which was traditionally the number one importer. However, taking into account recent Indonesia's introduction of the requirements for heat treatment of wheat exported from Ukraine, Egypt’s come-back is most likely in 2019.

Among other features of the past season is a sharp decrease in wheat exports to India: in 2017, it bought 1.6 million tons, and last year the State Statistics Service did not even include the country in the list of the main importers. Turkey also dropped out of the “big dozen”. Last year, it imported less than 240 thou. tons of Ukrainian wheat, while in 2017 the supplies reached 600 thou. tons. Libya and Yemen are now, on the contrary, in the list of the twelve largest counterparties of Ukrainian exporters. Last year, they increased the procurement of wheat from 150-250 thou. tons to 550-630 thou. tons.

Related story: The Trade Battlefield — Wheat: Ukraine, Russia, Turkey

Otherwise, the export geography has not changed. Bangladesh significantly increased the volume of imports, Morocco and the Philippines, on the contrary, reduced, while Spain, Korea, Tunisia and Thailand changed the volume of purchases insignificantly.

The participants TOP 10 also did without major shifts. In fact, there is only one newcomer to the rating — Orsett Trading. The share of the ten largest companies accounts for about 70 per cent of wheat exported from Ukraine in 2018. Moreover, six out of ten companies are “millionaires”: they exported 1-1.5 million tons of wheat, whereas NIBULON deliveries exceeded 2 million tons. As previously, large international companies set the pace for the market. However, the list is headed, again and traditionally, by the Ukrainian agricultural holdings.

The rating was compiled from the data of agents in Ukrainian ports, which is slightly different from that of the State Statistics (16.15 million tons). Although it is insignificant for the top ten since the participant should at least supply 500 thou. tons to enter the largest exporters club.

Valentin Horoshun,


Market share, %: 13.7

Export volume of wheat in 2018: 2.2 mmt

In 2016, NIBULON calculated that every ninth ton of wheat exported from Ukraine is supplied by the company. Today it is already an outdated indicator. At the end of 2018, NIBULON exported every eighth ton of wheat, and moreover, the trader has a high reserve.

In the field of agroexport, NIBULON holds a special position, as it is not only one of the largest latifundists of Ukraine but also the owner of a powerful river fleet, allowing the company to transship agricultural products in the roadstead without calling at port.

The company exports seven crops, but wheat is the main one. In 2018, NIBULON exported about 4.4 million tons of grains: corn, wheat, and barley. The share of wheat in the total volume was 50.4 per cent. For comparison, at the end of 2015/2016, the share of wheat was 44.6 per cent.

Wheat accounts for almost the same proportion in the overall holding's export structure. For example, in the first quarter 2018/19, it accounted for 47.3 per cent.

2. Kernel

Market share, %: 9.9

Export volume of wheat in 2018: 1.6 mmt

Kernel-Trade, through which Kernel Group exports agricultural products, is by far the largest grain exporter in Ukraine. In 2018, it shipped 4.6 million tons of corn, wheat and barley.

However, corn is the priority export grain for the holding.

In 2018, the share of wheat in the supply to foreign markets amounted to 34.6 per cent.

In the rating of wheat exporters, Kernel has the stable for the holding second position. The company completed the year 2016 in the same position.

However, if one compares the result of 2018 with the six-year-old indicators, there is marked progress. In 2012, Kernel-Trade held the tenth position in the rating, having shipped 245 thou. tons of wheat for export.

Regarding the export destinations, last year Kernel increased deliveries to the Philippines. The Netherlands, Spain, Indonesia, China and Kenya became the main importing countries for the holding.

3. Louis Dreyfus Company

Market share, %: 9.0

Export volume of wheat in 2018: 1.4 mmt

For Louis Dreyfus Company Ukraine, as well as for the parent Louis Dreyfus Company, wheat trade is a key activity. In terms of this crop export volumes, the company is among the three largest in Ukraine.

The company completed the 2017 season as an undisputed leader with a large margin from other exporters — LDC supplied 2.2 million tons of wheat to foreign markets, while the nearest neighbours in the top ten delivered 1.5-1.7 million tons.

Along with wheat, the company exports other grains such as corn and barley, yet the largest share in its grain exports is held by wheat. In 2018, the share of wheat in the total volume of grain exported by Louis Dreyfus Company Ukraine amounted to 51.6 per cent.

In the year 2018, LDC shipped 2.8 million tons of grain from Ukraine. The company lists fifth in the Ukrainian grain trade segment, and third among international companies represented in Ukraine.

4. Bunge

Market share, %: 8.8

Export volume of wheat in 2018: 1.4 mmt

In 2018, the company Suntrade, the major subsidiary of Bunge in Ukraine, increased the volume of wheat exports by almost 40 per cent. In 2017, the company's share in the total volume of exported wheat amounted to 1 million tons. Today, this indicator is 400 thou. tons higher.

Last season, corn was the priority grain crop for Suntrade. The share of wheat in the export of main grains — corn, wheat and barley — stood at 46.6 per cent, while the share of corn was 51 pct.

Last year, the company improved its position in the rating of wheat exporters from Ukraine having moved one position up from the fifth place. And if going six years back, the trader made a huge step forward. In 2012, Suntrade exported only 130 thou. tons of wheat from Ukraine and ranked 12th in the TOP 20 exporters.

5. Cargill

Market share, %: 8.3

Export volume of wheat in 2018: 1.3 mmt

In 2018, Cargill AT, a subsidiary of Cargill in Ukraine, slightly reduced the volume of wheat exports. In the year 2017, the company shipped ~1.5 million tons, whereas last year this indicator dropped 130 thou. tons. However, Cargill is still in the “golden middle” of the largest exporters of grain.

Although the company dropped one position in the top ten wheat exporters over the past year, this grain crop still remains a priority for Cargill. It accounts for more than 70 per cent of all the company's grain exports from Ukraine.

In recent years, Cargill has manyfold increased the volume of wheat supplies. If compared with 2012, today the trader ships almost 5x more.

6. COFCO Agri Ukraine

Market share, %: 6.1

Export volume of wheat in 2018: 1 mmt

Last year, COFCO Agri Resources Ukraine, a subsidiary of the Chinese national corporation COFCO (China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation), significantly strengthened its position in the wheat export segment having doubled the volume of supplies. As a result, in the rating of the largest exporters of wheat, the company climbed up six steps from 12th to 6th position.

In 2018, the company exported a total of 3.3 million tons of wheat and corn.

7. ADM

Market share, %: 3.8

Export volume of wheat in 2018: 0.6 mmt

Unlike other major exporters, wheat is not a number one crop for ADM Trading Ukraine, a subsidiary of the U.S.-based Archer Daniels Midland Company. In 2018, the company sufficiently reduced wheat exports from 0.9 million tons in 2017 to 0.6 million tons.

Wheat holds a 15 per cent share in the total agricultural products export of the company.

8. Ambar Export BKW

Market share, %: 3.3

Export volume of wheat in 2018: 0.52 mmt

Ambar Export BKW is a structural division of the Ukrainian BKW Group. Over recent years, the company has increased the volume of wheat exports and delivered 520 thou. tons in 2018, the best result in the last two years of its operations. In 2014, Ambar Export BKW exported ~260 thou. tons of wheat, in 2015 — 180 thou. tons, and in 2016 — 265 thou. tons. Thus, over the last two years, the company has twice increased the volume of wheat exports.

Related story: Top Achievements of Ukraine's Leading Agricultural Companies in 2018

Ambar Export BKW specializes in grains and oilseeds exports. However, wheat is the main export crop for the company. It accounts for at least 75 per cent of total exports.

Grain is shipped to Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

9. CHS

Market share, %: 3.2

Export volume of wheat in 2018: 0.5 mmt

In 2018, CHS Ukraine, a representation of the largest American agricultural cooperative СHS Inc in the Ukrainian market, almost twice increased the volume of wheat exports from 280 thou. tons to 535 thou. tons. This result ensured a place in the TOP 10 wheat exporters.

In 2017, CHS held the last position in the TOP 15 largest exporters of wheat. In 2015, the company exported 1.1 million tons of grains and oilseeds, having exceeded the million level of supplies.

CHS also exports corn, barley, soybeans and sunflower seeds.

10. Orsett Trading

Market share, %: 3.1

Export volume of wheat in 2018: 0.51 mmt

Orsett Trading is the only newcomer to the top of Ukrainian wheat exporters. It is a large international trading company registered in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The company's export structure includes corn, barley, Ukrainian and Russian milling wheat.  Shipment of Ukrainian wheat is carried out in the Sea Specialized Port Nika-Tera (Mykolaiv).

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