But Russia has more than once fired missiles at grain silos and elevators, including in Odesa and on the Dnipro. Is this also something the markets are ignoring?
Shooting at a grain silo is pointless because there are thousands of them. If a missile hits one and destroys, say, thousands of tons of grain, this worries journalists, but not the market; for the market these are trifles.
If Russia wants to seriously scare the markets, to prove that nothing can be done without it, it needs to launch some kind of massive attack on the Greater Odesa region.
But there have been no such attacks so far – 1-2 missiles and that’s it. It may be the case that Russia is being forced to limit the number of strikes so as to stockpile missiles for mass bombing campaigns in the winter.
As for the ports on the Danube, drone attacks are a regular occurrence there. There are no missiles, as Romania is across the river, and Russia, just in case, is not launching missiles so as not to come into conflict with NATO.I would also like to talk about the land corridor for Ukrainian grain exports. After the ruling Law and Justice party lost its majority in the Polish Sejm, can we expect a relaxation of the requirements to transport Ukrainian grain through Poland and through EU countries in general?
There was no ban on transit. Eastern European countries separated the issues of transit and sales of Ukrainian grain in these countries, and the ban concerned sales specifically. Although this conflict was, of course, 90% pulled out of thin air by the Polish Law and Justice party (PiS). From a market perspective, if transit is possible, then Ukrainian grain, without competing with Polish grain inside Poland, is competing with it in neighboring markets and at Polish ports. In other words, the ban on the sale of Ukrainian grain has not eliminated the competition.
But this was a political act by PiS, which, note, did not really help it, as the opposition is now coming to power in Poland. Who in this story clearly looked weak was Brussels, whose opinion was completely ignored [by the Polish government and several other Eastern European countries]. As a result, everyone saw that the opinion of individual countries could run counter to the economic policy of Brussels, even though a common foreign economic policy is one of the pillars on which the EU is based.
Returning to Poland, I think that this ban will be lifted – not so abruptly, of course, but it will be lifted. As a result, exports over land will go a little more smoothly. For Ukraine, it would be a little more convenient, but this is not a breakthrough – the most important thing is that the transit took place, it went through Romania. Because, besides the Black Sea ports, the most important corridor for Ukrainian grain exports is Romania, its port of Constanta, where grain can be exported both by land and from the mentioned Danube ports. This corridor functioned properly; Poland just made the biggest fuss.Does the fact that Ukrainian grain is now exported without hindrance somehow worsen the situation in world markets for Russian grain?
No, this is not critical. For world markets, it is important how much grain can be supplied from all countries. From this perspective, the launch of Ukrainian grain exports through the ports of Odesa does not fundamentally change the situation in the world market in terms of supply volumes. Sure, it played some role in bringing wheat prices down a bit, but not a leading one – Ukraine, especially after the weak harvests of 2022-23, is not one of the players driving the world grain market, unlike Russia.
Still, should something happen along the lines of a massive attack on the Odesa terminals, like I said, it would be serious. And after the cancellation of the grain deal, world prices soared for a couple of weeks – but then fell. Now, they are even below the levels they were at during the grain deal, in early July.How will Russia’s deal with China to supply 70 million tons of grains and oilseeds over 12 years affect the markets?
All the news about this “mega deal” is coming out of Russia, while the rest of the world is not aware of it. So,