Russia agrees to resume Ukraine grain export deal; wheat tumbles

Wheat prices plunged after Russia agreed to resume the deal allowing safe passage of Ukrainian crop exports, reversing a weekend announcement that sowed chaos through agricultural markets and sent prices soaring.

Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed Moscow is resuming its participation in the Black Sea grain-export deal, after receiving written guarantees from Ukraine that the safe-passage corridor will only be used for grain exports. Ukraine has repeatedly said it would not use the corridor for military purposes.

The future of the agreement — brokered in July by Turkey and the United Nations and seen as critical to shoring up global food supplies — was thrown into question after Russia’s announcement on Saturday that it was suspending involvement. But Turkey and the UN pressed ahead with shipments even without Russian participation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier said shipments via the Ukraine grain corridor would resume on Wednesday, citing assurances from Russian authorities made earlier to Turkish counterparts.

Some vessels continued to depart from Ukraine on Monday and Tuesday, but the UN announced late yesterday that there were no shipments planned on Wednesday. Russian officials had issued several warnings that Moscow couldn’t guarantee the safety of ships traveling the corridor without its participation.

Chicago wheat futures plunged as much as 6.3%, after surging in the first two days of the week. Grain prices have been volatile over the past few months amid speculation over the fate of the deal which was set to be renewed in mid-November. – BLOOMBERG