KYIV- Ukraine's government and sunflower oil producers agreed on Monday to limit 2020/21 sunoil exports to 5.382 million tonnes, aiming to avoid a jump in domestic sunoil prices due to excessive shipments overseas, producers and the government said.
Ukraine is the world's largest sunoil exporter and the government had said sunoil exports in the September 2020-August 2021 season might total around 5.52 million tonnes out of output of 5.92 million tonnes this season.
"The agreed volume limit will in no way affect our international obligations and we will maintain our status as a leader in the global market," the economy ministry quoted minister Ihor Petrashko as saying.
The memorandum, seen by Reuters, does not contain licensing or export quota requirements.
Last week local traders said the government could impose a zero quota for sunflower oil exports from May 2021 and that at least 200,000 tonnes of sunoil could stay in the country, as part of moves to respond to rising food prices.
Ukrainian traders' union UGA said it was concerned by the government's plan to curb exports, which could cause a big fall in the amount of area used for sunflower sowing and reduce the harvest.
"UGA is convinced that setting a limit on exports is not the best tool for regulating the market, but it is much better than imposing direct restrictions on exports in the form of licensing or quotas," it said on Monday.
The national sunoil producers' association called on the government to avoid any export restriction as it could lead to a significant number of sunoil enterprises in Ukraine going out of business.
Neighbouring Russia has already imposed an export duty for sunflower seeds at 30%, and not less than 165 euros per tonne, between Jan. 9 and June 30.
Analyst APK-Inform said at the weekend that the supply-demand balance for the 2020/21 season allows Ukraine to export 5.6 million tonnes of sunoil which could jump to 6.54 in the 2021/22 season due to a higher sunseed harvest.
Ukraine has exported around 3.5 million tonnes of sunoil so far in the 2020/21 season, the economy ministry said.
The consultancy forecast that Ukraine will harvest 16.4 million tonnes of sunseed and refine 7 million tonnes of sunoil in 2021/22 season.
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, editing by Susan Fenton, Kirsten Donovan) ((email@example.com; +380 44 2449150; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))