TOP 10 Importing Countries of Ukrainian Grain in 2020

Grain exports from Ukraine have increased markedly over the past decade. Based on USDA estimates, exports to foreign markets in 2020/21 will make up 45.8 mln t of Ukrainian origins, 3.8x more than in 2010/11, although 17% less YoY. In 2020, grain supplies generated USD 9.4 bln in export revenues, Nikolai Pugachev, deputy director of the NSC Institute of Agrarian Economics, states.

Production and export of grain from Ukraine, mln t

Marketing year Production Export
2010/11 38.35 12.18
2011/12 55.8 23.23
2012/13 45.29 22.19
2013/14 62.3 32.52
2014/15 64.14 35.6
2015/16 60.66 38.62
2016/17 66.01 44.99
2017/18 61.05 40.27
2018/19 69.56 50.09
2019/20 75.72 55.09
2020/21 est. 64.21 45.81

Source: USDA

As before, Asia, Africa and Europe were the major buyers of Ukrainian grain in 2020. Last year, changes occurred in the top ten grain buyers: South Korea and Libya ousted Israel and Italy from the top 10. The distinctive feature of 2020 was Egypt's ousting from the top position in the rating of the largest importers of Ukrainian grains, which it had held since 2011, and the further strengthening of China's position.

The role of agribusiness in Ukraine's and world economy (click for full resolution)

A decrease in shipments of most staple grains was observed compared to 2019. Corn exports summed 27.9 mln t, down by 14% YoY (2019: 32.3), yet this indicator is almost 7x higher than in 2010. Wheat export volumes equalled 18.1 mln t, 10% less from 2019 and 3.7x higher than in 2010. Rye shipment slashed significantly again — by 63% to 5 thou. t. However, barley delivery to foreign markets in 2020 increased by 0.9 mln t YoY to 5.0 mln t.

Sergei Gerasimenko,

Trade turnover, USD mln
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Объем товарооборота, $ млн: 1855

In 2020, China for the first time topped the rating of Ukrainian grain importers having purchased about 1/5 of the value of domestic grain exports worth USD 1855 mln. Over three years, since 2018, this country has increased its purchases by more than 3x. China's share in the value of domestic grain exports increased from 8.9% in 2019 to 19.7% last year.

Total imports in 2020/21 show an 80% increase compared to the previous period. China imports corn and wheat the most, 65 and 33%, respectively.

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Объем товарооборота, $ млн: 1120

Egypt moved to the second position as it bought Ukrainian grain worth USD 1120 mln last year, 15% less than it had in 2019. Its share in total exports of this commodity group was 11.9%.

Total imports will remain at the previous season's level, with a slight decrease of 0.37%, which may be explained by a 3.65% increase in opening stocks (carryovers). Wheat and corn lead the way in total imports: 55 and 40%, respectively.

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Объем товарооборота, $ млн: 547

The third and fourth positions are taken by Indonesia and Spain, each with 5.8% of Ukraine's grain shipments to foreign markets. Indonesia, which ranked sixth in 2019, moved up last year having boosted its purchases of Ukrainian grain to USD 547 mln.

Pursuant to the USDA data, in the 2020/21season total imports will remain largely at the same level as in the previous season, with a slight increase of 1.78%. The main import crop is wheat, which accounts for almost 93%.

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Объем товарооборота, $ млн: 543

In September 2020, Ukraine and Spain signed a memorandum of understanding and partnership in agriculture, trade and food industry. It is concluded for three years with an automatic extension for another three years.

"The document opens opportunities for regular exchange of experience and best practices for the development of the agricultural sector of both countries, as well as strengthening cooperation in agrifood trade," stated Taras Kachka, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine, Trade Representative of Ukraine, Deputy Chairman of the International Grains Council (IGC).

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Объем товарооборота, $ млн: 519

The EU countries significantly reduced imports of Ukrainian corn last year. The Netherlands with 2.9 mln t ranked second among the largest importers of this grain crop.

Compared to 2019, the purchase volumes are down by 900 thou. t.

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Объем товарооборота, $ млн: 473

According to the USDA forecasts, Turkey is expected to reduce its cereal imports by more than 3 mln t in 2020/21, driven by expectations of a good wheat harvest as well as high carryovers, which have surged by 52% compared to 2019/20.

Wheat comes first in the grain export structure accounting for 70%, corn 24% and barley 6%.

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Объем товарооборота, $ млн: 347

With domestic production declining, Tunisia may intensify grain imports in the 2020/21 season to 3.8 mln t, 20% more than it was imported in the 2019/20 season and 5% higher than the 5-year average imports.

Wheat dominates the structure of cereals import with 54% of the total supply, followed by corn (24%) and barley (22%) at nearly equal proportions. While wheat and barley demonstrated the upward trend last season, corn import shrank.

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Объем товарооборота, $ млн: 317

Bangladesh will increase its wheat purchases from Ukraine in an attempt to make up for a possible grain supply shortfall from Russia, which announced plans to impose a higher export duty on grain from March 1.

Bangladesh is the third-largest buyer of Russian wheat after Turkey and Egypt. Under the diplomatic agreement, Russia was to supply 400 thou. t of wheat to Bangladesh by June 2021. To date, Bangladesh has purchased half of the planned volume — 200 thou. t of Russian wheat. Now the government in Dhaka has doubts that Russian will be able to deliver in full.

South Korea
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Объем товарооборота, $ млн: 282

South Korea's wheat demand in 2019 was 3.43 mln t. 20 thou. t was produced domestically and the rest was imported.

In 2020/21, imports are projected to remain at the level of the previous season with a slight increase of 0.5%. Corn (75%) and wheat (24%) are the main imports.

One of the biggest deliveries in 2020 was by Posco International, which shipped 68 thou. t of feed wheat from Ukraine in partnership with the country's largest feed grain importer, Nonghyup Feed.

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Объем товарооборота, $ млн: 265

USDA forecasts Libya to import 2.7 mln t of grain in 2020/21, which is 8% lower than the previous year's purchases. More than half of all cereal imports is wheat (51%), corn and barley are booked in almost equal proportions, 26% and 22%, respectively.

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