UN chief says Black Sea grain deal extended

The United Nations Secretary General on Thursday said he welcomes an agreement by all parties to extend the Black Sea grain deal to facilitate Ukraine’s agricultural exports from its southern Black Sea ports.

Initially reached in July, the agreement created a protected sea transit corridor and was designed to alleviate global food shortages by allowing exports to resume from three ports in Ukraine, a major producer of grains and oilseeds.

“I welcome the agreement by all parties to continue the Black Sea grain initiative to facilitate the safe navigation of export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilisers from Ukraine,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a statement on Thursday.

Guterres said the UN was also “fully committed to removing the remaining obstacles to exporting food and fertilisers from the Russian Federation” – a part of the deal Moscow sees as critical.

Since July, some 11.1 million tonnes of agricultural products have been shipped, including 4.5 million tonnes of corn and 3.2 million tonnes of wheat.

According to a Reuters report, wheat prices on the Chicago Board of Trade fell following the news that the agreement would be extended with the benchmark contract down 1.6% at $8.04 a bushel while corn prices fell 0.7% to $6.60-1/2 a bushel.

A drop in shipments from Ukraine following Russia’s invasion in February has played a role in this year’s global food price crisis but there have also been other important drivers including the COVID-19 pandemic and continued climate shocks such as droughts in both Argentina and the United States.