Wheat Rivalry Heats Up as Ukraine Starts Sales to Saudi Arabia
(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine joined Russia in starting wheat sales to Saudi Arabia, giving European Union exporters another rival in one of their top markets.
Continental Farmers Group will this month send Ukraine’s first cargo of high quality wheat to the kingdom since 2008, after winning a tender to supply 60,000 tons, the company said. That follows Saudi Arabia’s decision last year to relax bug-damage rules, which opened the way for Black Sea grain to start competing with EU shipments, which have dominated sales to the nation.
Russia has already sent several cargoes there this year. While the sales are small, they mark another advance for Black Sea shippers who have grabbed a larger share of the global wheat market in recent years amid bumper harvests that yield attractive supplies. The Ukraine sale also shows how Saudi investment is paying off, after the Saudi Agricultural & Livestock Investment Co. bought assets there in 2018 and merged them into Continental Farmers.
The shipment is a “clear signal of serious investment intention of Saudi Arabia regarding Ukraine,” Georg von Nolcken, chief executive officer at Continental Farmers, said in a statement. It’s also “the beginning of a strong international cooperation,” the company said.
Ukraine is the world’s fifth-biggest wheat exporter. Its shipments are expected to total 18 million tons this season, the country’s third-highest on record, according to U.S. government data.
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