Ukraine can make itself known on world food market.

Ukraine has a unique opportunity to make itself really known on the world food market. And as Russia lives thanks to oil and gas exports, Ukraine could live off food exports. But the foreign trade deficit problem holds back this development. And the risk of the hryvnia devaluation is present both this and next year, as economists predicted. The idea to make the hryvnia exchange rate stable at the expense of grain is correct, but it must be put into practice.

This opinion was expressed by Ukrainian Analytical Center President Oleksandr Okhrymenko, reported.

“The main problem of our balance of payments is also the fact that the amount of money spent on the purchase of imported goods greatly exceeds the amount of currency received due to exports. For the first five months of 2012, Ukraine’s foreign trade deficit exceeded 3.6 billion USD, which is 25% more than a year ago. The reason for the deficit of Ukraine’s foreign trade is well known. Ukraine buys too expensive natural gas from Russia. And although the volume of purchases declined, the inflated price leads to the situation that about 35% of the currency spent by importers goes for the purchase of gas in Russia. A lot of currency is also spent on the purchase of machinery from foreign companies. Yet, those are not cars, as it was before, but machinery for the industry. A lot of currency is also spent for the purchase of chemicals and food abroad,” the expert said.

According to him, the trade deficit can be reduced either by reducing the purchase of imported goods, or due to the growth of Ukrainian exports. Traditionally, about 30% of Ukrainian exports are metallurgical products.

“In this regard, it is quite logical that, with an increase in the export of Ukrainian food, it is possible to get an additional currency volume, which had not been received from the metallurgical industry. In the first quarter of 2012, Ukraine sold abroad food amounting to about 3.8 billion USD. This is less than the steelmakers, but it is only the beginning of the year. If indeed this year Ukraine is able to increase its sales abroad, it will provide an influx of currency. And, unlike metal prices, the prices of grain on the world markets are growing rather than falling. In general, the demand for food is growing in the world,” Okhrymenko said.

At the same time, analysts pointed out that the real state of affairs in the agrarian sector of Ukraine will be seen upon completion of the grain harvesting. Then it will be seen to what a degree the predictions were confirmed.

As reported, as of July 6, agricultural enterprises harvested 26% of the planned area of 10.3 million hectares of early grains, or 2.67 million hectares.

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