Weekly round-up of Black Sea grain market – May 16

Russian wheat exports to halve in May, no signs of de-escalation

* There are no signs of de-escalation in the Black Sea. Russian troops are trying to advance in SE Ukraine with limited progress. Ukrainian troops are engaged in a counteroffensive around Kharkiv. It looks like a stalemate at the moment.

* Heads of Russian and US ministries of defense spoke today by phone for the first time since the start of the war stressing the importance of maintaining communications. Not bad taking into account that the countries are the biggest nukes owners

* Finland and Sweden are joining NATO. Putin: “we don’t have a problem with that”

* Ukraine struggles with its exports, 1.3 mmt have been exported in April, mainly corn, as per customs. In reality, shipments were lower because of infrastructure bottlenecks

* Russian wheat exports tumble, we expect them to halve in May after 2.2 mmt in April

* New WASDE: low export and crop numbers both for Ukraine and Russia. The war should continue / Ukrainian terminals should remain blocked until fall-2023 to achieve such low Ukrainian exports. No substantial damage to key Ukrainian terminals in the South-West at this stage despite the rumors

* Indian wheat export ban seems to be not a ban. 4-5 mmt at least are to be exported despite the restrictions. USDA’s 22/23 estimate – 8.5 mmt. Egypt says that it has already struck a 0.5 mmt deal with Delhi.

* Indian story seems to be priced in after today’s rally, Black Sea news – neutral

* Based on weekly Ukrainian market note and Russian market note

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