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The agribusiness sector in Ukraine has held up despite a series of power cuts, which blocked sea grain terminals and complicated railway deliveries, UkrAgroconsult reported.

Ukraine also faced a loss of communications and internet services during the 21-25 November period, the 30 November report said.

However, the agricultural sector continued to operate, the report said, with some signs of optimism, such as an increase in corn prices.

World corn production has declined since 2021, according to the report, and Ukrainian corn exports to China have become more complicated following Russia’s invasion last February.

Although China was now actively switching to Latin American grain purchases, Ukrainian deliveries to China continued, the report said.

China has also been an active importer of oilseed meal, UkrAgroconsult wrote, and in terms of shipments, sunflower meal could compete with corn. In the September-November period, 15 vessels loaded with sunflower meal travelled to China through the United Nations-brokered Black Sea grain export corridor agreed in July.

More profitable oilseed crops had been almost fully harvested, the report said, and while some of the sunflowerseed planted areas had been affected by moisture, higher prices and profits covered drying and cleaning costs.

The export potential of Ukrainian sunflower oil was expected to reach 4.3M tonnes in the 2022/23 marketing year, according to UkrAgroConsult estimates, with the grain corridor a key factor.

Although risks continued, the export pace during the first months of the 2022/23 season made it possible that sunflowerseed oil and sunflower meal exports could achieve estimated volumes, the report said.

A 33% reduction in the sunflower harvest compared to 2021 was expected to lead to Ukraine losing its ranking as the world’s top sunflower oil exporter, UkrAgroConsult wrote, although this was likely to be a temporary drop in ranking.

A comparative profitability study for the 2023 harvest had shown that farmers would be expected to give preference to oilseed crops planting, the report said, while an expansion in planted area was forecast in the more productive regions of Ukraine, which explained optimistic forecasts.