Surging soyabean prices and a lack of local supply is leading Ukraine to turn to imports, AgriCensus reported market sources as saying on 23 February.

A combination of one of the smallest crops in years, the reluctance of farmers to sell their soyabeans and heated prices in the domestic market had opened up the opportunity for imports in the country, AgriCensus wrote.

Ukrainian crushers had started to look towards Brazil for an alternative supply, a number of sources told AgriCensus.

Ukraine imported 20,000 tonnes of Brazilian soyabeans in July 2020, according to the AgriCensus Export Dashboard.

“One of the main reasons that some crushers are looking to import soyabeans is the positive margin,” one source at a Ukraine crusher was quoted as saying.

However, the source added that buying imported soyabeans did not exclude the purchase of Ukrainian soyabeans at acceptable prices.

In 2020, soyabean production in Ukraine had dropped by almost a third to a seven-year low of 3.1M tonnes, due to a combination of farmers planting a quarter less area and yield falling by 9% after a dry summer, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

This had led to Ukraine’s soyabean exports falling 50% since the beginning of the marketing year to 1.06M tonnes by the end of January, customs data had shown.

Meanwhile, soyabean stock levels in the country were 18% lower on the year at 1.041M tones by the end of January, according to the latest data from UkrStat.

Inventories at Ukrainian crushers had fallen 28% on the year at 671,200 tonnes, AgriCensus said, with farmers holding 10% more stock than last year.