Ukraine: Where The Gullible Deserve To Be Gulled

The Ukrainian State Statistics Committee report that grain stocks in the country (excluding very small scale operations) stood at 20.9 MMT on Dec 1st. Of that total supplies of the three main grains stood at: 9.4 MMT of wheat, 4.6 MMT of barley and 4.7 MMT of corn.

The Ag Ministry reported that Nov 30th grain exports this marketing year (started Jul 1st) were 11.3 MMT (incl 5.7 MMT wheat; 3.54 MMT barley and 1.93 MMT corn).

With an annual domestic grain consumption of 27 MMT, it seems clear that exports simply can't continue at the existing rate before stocks become exhausted.

The official Ministry estimate for grain exports in 2009/10 still stands at 20 MMT, although some private estimates are as high as 24 MMT. Where is it all going to come from, and keep the people fed?

My calculations suggest that they need three quarters of their 20.9 MMT stocks to see them through until the next crop year, leaving little more than 5 MMT to export between Dec 1st and then. And they exported close on a million tonnes of that between Dec 1st and Dec 10th alone!

Blimey, who'd want to be Ukrainian? It's 15 below zero. The Russian gas man is knocking at the door. You've just had to drop your pants to the IMF for USD2 billion to pay him what you already owe. That's on top of the USD11 billion that you've already had. And now you're having to sell the food off your own table just to pay the interest on what you owe already. You're not exactly going to be rushing down to the local farm shop to buy fertiliser and pesticides either are you?

A cold, long and hungry winter lies ahead.

I hope that the IMF aren't expecting their money back anytime soon. Ditto all the grain exporters owed VAT by the government. A report I read on a message board recently about business in Ukraine sums it all up. It said that in Ukraine the prevailing attitude is that the gullible deserve to be gulled.

It seems like there's been a lot of that going on recently.