Ukrainian export market of corn in 2018/19 MY — new records


In 2017/18 MY, the market of corn demonstrated a lot of surprises. The trend developed, due to the high volatility of prices, which for a long time was not traditional for the settled behaviour of the corn market. Almost missing demand and small-scale shipments from the seaports of Ukraine in the beginning of the season contributed to formation of low export prices. At the same time, in the mid-season the prices for feed corn started increasing and reached the level of 2-grade milling wheat, and even exceeded it in some periods.

So, how the market will develop in 2018/19 MY? The current article focuses on the first month of the new season.


Record production volumes

Agrarians noticed the reporting price aspect, and in the current season the market continued developing the upward dynamics of the planted areas under corn (up 1.3% compared with 2017/18 MY). In addition, in the periods of corn ripening and harvesting, Ukraine faced very favourable weather conditions. According to preliminary estimations, the average yield increased by almost 31.7% — to 7.25 t/ha. To date, APK-Inform analysts estimated the production volumes of corn in 2018/19 MY at the level of 32.7 mln tonnes, up 33% compared with last year, which is the new absolute record.

Taking into account 9% growth of the domestic consumption (mainly due to the feed component), and increasing of the carry-over stocks in the beginning of the season by almost 16% — to 1.1 mln tonnes, the export potential totals nearly 24.5 mln tonnes.


Supply and demand balances of corn in Ukraine






Changes, %


2017/18 - 2016/17

2018/19 - 2017/18


`000 tonnes

`000 tonnes

`000 tonnes


Planted areas, `000 ha

4 286

4 520

4 581




Yield, c/ha








28 075

24 669

32 732




Domestic consumption

7 240

6 699

7 300





21 298

17 855

24 500





Record supplies

In 2017/18 MY, Ukraine exported 17.9 mln tonnes of corn, down 16.2% compared with 2016/17 MY. It should be noted that in the off-season period (August-September of 2018), the export volumes almost doubled compared with the same period in 2017 (766.7 thsd tonnes, against 389.3 thsd tonnes). Such trend appeared, due to the active interest of the EU countries in purchasing of the product. In particular, the Netherlands increased the import volumes of Ukrainian corn in 3.5 times — to 291.5 thsd tonnes, Spain — up 1.2 times (65.8 thsd tonnes), Italy — up 2.6 times (68.5 thsd tonnes), Belgium — up 2 times (64.9 thsd tonnes), Poland — up 1.05% (166.62 thsd tonnes), as well as the United Kingdom — 66 thsd tonnes, and Portugal — 27.5 thsd tonnes.

Despite the fact that in 2017/18 MY the supplies of Ukrainian corn to the EU countries decreased from 9.2 mln tonnes to 8.3 mln tonnes, such countries as Italy, Ireland, Hungary and Finland significantly increased the import volumes.

Also, Ukraine increased the supplies to China and Lebanon, which for two recent months of 2017/18 MY imported 50 thsd tonnes and 34.8 thsd tonnes of corn, respectively. In the season-2017/18, China imported 2.73 mln tonnes of corn of Ukrainian origin, up 1.83 times compared with the figures in 2016/17 MY.

According to the statistics figures, in October 2018 the Ukrainian seaports supplied almost 50 thsd tonnes of corn to China, up 8.2 times compared with the same indicator last year, Libya — almost 100 thsd tonnes, against 932.5 tonnes only, and the EU — 969.8 thsd tonnes, against 221.4 thsd tonnes.

In particular, in the EU the following countries mainly provided the bulk of the reporting increase of imports: Spain — up 3.1 times to 255.7 thsd tonnes, Italy — up 1.4 times to 85.3 thsd tonnes, and the Netherlands — up 5.5 times to 199.1 thsd tonnes. In addition, the supplies of Ukrainian corn to France increased from 0.16 tonnes to 24.1 thsd tonnes, Poland — from 343 tonnes to 12.1 thsd tonnes, Finland — from 21 tonnes to 5 thsd tonnes, and Austria — from 1.2 tonnes to 1.7 thsd tonnes. The current situation developed, due to a number of problems with the volumes and qualitative features of new crop corn of the EU origin.

Also, Ukraine increased the exports to Turkey — from 6.8 thsd tonnes to 34.5 thsd tonnes. Taking into account rather complex political and economic situation in the country, it is unlikely that the reporting sales market is reputed as stable, and market participants do not expect for high import rates.

According to APK-Inform figures, in the first month of 2018/19 MY Ukraine exported almost 1.3 mln tonnes of corn, an increase of nearly 2.5 times compared with the same month last year. The price factor played its important role in achievement of the reporting result.







Price situation

Last season started with quite low prices, but in the mid-season the export prices slightly increased. The growth of global prices provided its additional support to price strengthening. In late February - early March 2018, the prices demonstrated the most rapid upward dynamics. Since mid-March to mid-April, the prices reached the maximum figures, when the export prices for corn in Ukraine reached the level of prices for 2-grade wheat, and sometimes even exceeded them.

In the beginning of 2018/19 MY, the prices started actively decreasing, due to the seasonal factor and expectations of the record high production volumes in Ukraine by the majority of market operators. Since the beginning of September until the end of October 2018, the offer prices for corn on FOB basis decreased by nearly 10 USD/t — to 160-167 USD/t, and reached the 12-month minimum level. The low prices contributed to increasing of the importers interest in purchases of feed corn, which became the factor of price stabilizing and even led to slight increasing of prices (up 1-5 USD/t — to 165-168 USD/t FOB).

The offer prices with delivery in December varied within the range of 167-171 USD/t FOB.



To date, Europe inspires hope about the prospects of the Ukrainian corn export market, while Egypt provides the certain stress. The shipment rates are high, but the prices are low, and in the short term there will not be their active increasing, due to the seasonal factor.


Anna Tanskaya, APK-Inform Agency