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Ukraine increased exports by sea?

Украйна засили износа по море?

Ukraine has been able to increase its Black Sea grain exports to a level not seen since before the war, although the shipping crisis in the Red Sea poses a new challenge to its agricultural trade.

Kiev's success with the alternative corridors brings relief to Ukrainian farmers and importing countries, while also representing a naval breakthrough for the Ukrainian military as the ground and counter-offensive stalls.

The turnaround in exports helped stabilize Ukraine's economy late last year. "The alternative Black Sea export corridor from Ukraine is definitely a positive signal for the agricultural industry," said Svetlana Melish, senior analyst for Black Sea agriculture at LSEG, adding: "but there are many concerns related to the situation in the Red Sea."

Ukraine's grain exports by sea in January could fall by about 20% compared to last month, a senior Ukrainian official said last week, largely because of the Red Sea crisis.

Attacks on shipping in the Red Sea by the Houthis, who control much of Yemen, have hampered trade between Europe and Asia. The Houthis say they are acting in solidarity with the Palestinians as Israel strikes Gaza. Their actions prompted airstrikes by the United States and Great Britain.

Crossing the Red Sea is very important for Ukraine, as almost a third of its exports through the Black Sea Corridor are sent to China.

Under its new export scheme, Ukraine is also supplying grain to Pakistan for the first time since the Russian invasion, said Alexander Karavaytsev, senior economist at the International Grains Council.

Grain ships are increasingly diverting from the Suez Canal-Red Sea route, according to analysts and traders.

"The situation with the Red Sea is likely to hinder long-distance shipping from Ukraine," Karavaitsev said.

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