Kazakhstan raises grain export hopes – again

Nov 9. Agrimoney

Kazakhstan raises grain export hopes - againKazakhstan has, again, raised its estimate for grain exports in a second fillip within a week for the increasingly significant Black Sea region.

Farm minister Akylbek Kurishbayev said the central Asian state would export “at least” 10m tonnes of grain in 2009-10.

The revision, from a previous forecast of 9m tonnes, reflects a harvest which, at 20m tonnes, beat September estimates by about 3m tonnes.

And it comes three days after neighbouring Ukraine raised hopes for an upgrade of 4m tonnes to its grain crop estimate.

“It’s expected that this year we will get about 47m tonnes of grain clean weight,” Ukraine’s deputy farm minister Yuri Luzan said, according to the Interfax news agency.

Chinese hopes

Kazakhstan has traditionally sold most of its grain to neighbours in the former Soviet bloc, which Akylbek Kurishbayev said are expected to take 6-7m tonnes in 2009-10.

About 2.5-3.0m tonnes would be shipped through ports on the Azov, Baltic and Black seas, exports which Kazakhstan last week said it subsidise to the tune of $33m.

The land-locked country requires extra transport costs to get its grain to ports, which can make it uncompetitive on export markets.

However, Kazakhstan is also attempting to improve trade with China, and is planning a terminal near the border.

China has said it will buy “as much grain as you sell us”, Karim Masimov, the Kazakh prime minister, said last month, announcing a quota deal with Beijing.