Putin’s Grain Gripe

Sep 13, 2022

Russia’s fighting words over the Black Sea grain export deal had wheat prices going wild last week.

ICYMI: A UN-brokered deal in July was intended to let Ukraine export tens of millions of tonnes of grain out of their Black Sea ports to side-step a global food crisis.

Putin’s prose: “We are honoring the agreements (but) it turns out… that they (the West) have just royally screwed us over and not just us but the poorest countries whose interests were the pretext of doing all this,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He claims nearly all grain exported from Ukraine is going to EU countries.

Putin says he wants to renegotiate the pact to limit which countries can receive shipments, and hinted at changing routes for shipments. But Russia won’t renege (this ain’t Euchre); they’ll keep on keepin’ on in hopes of achieving the deal’s aim.

Ukraine’s ag minister said they’ve seen the comments, but have heard nothing from Russia about changing the deal.

Fact check: UN data shows Ukrainian cargoes have headed to Turkey, China, India, Egypt, Yemen, Somalia, and Djibouti. Maybe Putin needs a map?

Underhanded agenda? Russia is reported to have a wheat bumper crop this year, so some think Putin might be stirring the pot to strengthen the wheat market and keep funding their war.

Market mayhem: Even before Putin’s comments, the wheat market had been keeping a close eye on Ukraine.

Particularly worrying is the risk of a nuclear power plant’s potential destruction, leading to crop and environmental contamination. The estimated 40-60% of Ukrainian winter grains that won’t get planted due to the war aren’t reassuring either.