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Weather Cuts Russian And Ukraine Crops

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Leading Black Sea grain exporters Russia and Ukraine could reduce shipments in the current season that started in July as drought may have reduced the 2009 crop, analysts, producers and traders said July 28.

Their forecasts range from 85 million to 95 million tonnes, with the trader WJ Group’s ProZerno at the top end of the range.

“We have lowered our output forecast to 95 million tonnes from the previous 100 million tonnes, mainly due to a drought, which had cut the harvesting area,” Vladimir Petrichenko, general director of ProZerno, an analytical unit of the group, said.

“Export potential may also shrink, mainly of wheat. We have revised our wheat output forecast down to some 59 million tonnes from the previous 62 million and therefore we expect the country to be able to export 18.0 million to 18.5 million tonnes,” he told Reuters.

Official data for Russia’s 2008-09 grain exports are not yet available but SovEcon agricultural analysts have estimated them at an all-time high of 23.5 million tonnes.

Russia harvested a large crop of 108.1 million tonnes in 2008.

Ukrainian grain producers and traders said the country’s grain output could decline due to bad weather and a shortage of funds linked to the world financial crisis.

The Ukrainian Grain Association (UGA), the industry lobby, believes farmers may be able to produce 40 million to 42 million tonnes of grain this year, down from 53 million tonnes in 2008.

“Of this, Ukraine will be able to export about 17 million tonnes,” UNIAN news agency quoted the president of UGA, Volodymyr Klymenko, as saying. It estimated last season’s exports at around 25 million tonnes of grain.

Kernel Group, one of the leading Ukrainian exporter of farm products, believes grain output may be even lower at 37 million to 38 million tonnes.

Kernel expects the country to export 16 million to 18 million tonnes of grain in 2009-10.

UkrAgroConsult agricultural consultancy said in a statement Ukraine’s wheat exports in the current 2009-10 season would be no lower than 7.5 million tonnes.

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