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World: Ukraine's biggest rail company temporarily restricts grain exports, which could have further knock-on effects on US prices

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Ukraine exported more than $140 million of wheat to the US before the pandemic, with latest disruptions adding to price woes. AP © AP Ukraine exported more than $140 million of wheat to the US before the pandemic, with latest disruptions adding to price woes. AP
  • State-owned Ukrainian Railways temporarily restricted the movement of some goods, Reuters reported.
  • Rail has become Ukraine's main export pathway since Russia began shelling port cities like Mariupol.
  • The US imported more than $140 million of Ukrainian agriculture pre-pandemic.

Ukraine's state-owned railway temporarily restricted the export of grains into Eastern Europe, in a move that could further raise prices in the US.

The grains in question are vital in the manufacturing of cereal and cooking oil.

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Consultancy APK-Inform said Ukrainian Railways had halted the transport of some agricultural goods into Poland and Romania between April 16 and April 18, including cereals, grain and oil seeds, Reuters reported. No reason was given for the suspension.

Ukrainian Railways did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside normal working hours.

Ukraine had previously been exporting most of its goods by sea through ports like Mariupol and Odessa, before they came under heavy shelling by Russia. Mykola Gorbachev, chairman of the Ukrainian Grain Association, told Reuters the country's grain industry faced $6 billion in losses as port cities were targeted by Russian troops.

In March, Ukraine's agriculture minister Mykola Solskyi said the country's monthly exports of grain had fallen from 4-5 million tonnes to just a few hundred thousand, Reuters reported, citing a television briefing from an unspecified source.

In 2019, the US imported $1.3 billion worth of Ukrainian goods, primarily focused on steel. But the country also imported $143 million worth of Ukrainian agricultural products, much of which could now be displaced, putting upward pressure on US prices.

Insider's Urooba Jamal reported that the invasion of Ukraine threatened to push global wheat prices higher.

According to the latest CPI inflation data, the price of cereals and baking products in the US rose by 9.4% between March 2021 and 2022, while flour prices jumped more than 14%.

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