Market News & Headlines >> Concerns about Ukraine's Grain Output Rise

Concerns tensions in Ukraine will hurt that key growing country’s grain production and exports have escalated again after pro-Russian protests in eastern Ukraine spread and pro-Russian forces fired on Ukrainian soldiers in the city of Slavyansk over the weekend.

Ukraine's acting president called an emergency meeting of the country's top security officials Saturday in Kiev and on Monday asked the UN to supply peace-keeping troops for Ukraine’s eastern regions. The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on the situation late on Sunday. Western officials say Russia has amassed a large number of troops that could strike Ukraine in a matter of hours—troops Moscow says conducting a training exercise.  

The tensions have caused Ukraine's currency to slide, making farmers less willing to sell any grain they have available and boosting the cost of imported crop inputs. Political issues between the countries have also made it harder for farmers to secure financing to buy inputs such as seed and fertilizer.

The Ukrainian hryvnia on Monday afternoon was trading at more than 13.14 to the dollar, down from around 11.5 at the start of April and 8.13 a year earlier. Ukraine’s central bank nearly doubled interest rates on Monday, raising its overnight loan rate to 14.5% from 7.5%.