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334084

Ukraine grain exports down 41.5% so far this season, ministry says

KYIV, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Ukraine's grain exports are down 41.5% year on year in the 2022/23 season so far at almost 8 million tonnes, but the pace of shipments is increasing gradually, agriculture ministry data showed on Wednesday.

The country's grain exports have slumped since Russia invaded in February because its Black Sea ports were closed off, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.

Three Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.

Ministry data showed that exports so far in the July 2022 to June 2023 season included 4.49 million tonnes of corn, 2.78 million tonnes of wheat and 669,000 tonnes of barley.

Ukrainian grain exports were 43.2% smaller season on season on Sept. 21, 48.6% on Sept. 9 and 54.5% on Sept. 2.

The ministry gave no reason for improving pace of shipments, which analysts have attributed to the U.N.-brokered grain export deal.

The government has said that Ukraine could harvest between 50 million and 52 million tonnes of grain this year, down from a record 86 million tonnes in 2021, because of the loss of land to Russian forces and lower yields. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk Editing by David Goodman )

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