Grain talks start, traders warned on war crimes

Disruptions to crop shipments from Ukraine — one of the world’s biggest wheat, corn and vegetable-oil exporters — sent global food prices spiraling to record levels earlier this year and raised worries about rising hunger.
Image: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Turkey started talks on Wednesday with Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations on ways to resume grain exports from Black Sea ports blocked by Russian troops to ease pressure on global food markets.

Disruptions to crop shipments from Ukraine — one of the world’s biggest wheat, corn and vegetable-oil exporters — sent global food prices spiraling to record levels earlier this year and raised worries about rising hunger.

The trading of looted commodities could constitute a war crime, Switzerland’s top prosecutor said in a thinly veiled warning to any company considering trading in coal, grain or other foodstuffs reportedly pillaged from Ukraine.

Key developments

  • Higher Oil Prices Are Poised to Last for Months, If Not Years
  • Trading Looted Commodities Could Be a War Crime, Swiss AG Says
  • Italy Pulls Ahead in European Rush to Cut Russia-Gas Dependency
  • US Democrats Urge New $650 Billion IMF Aid on Ukraine War Hit
  • What If? Markets Plan Doomsday If Russia Turns Off the Gas
  • Traders Get War Crimes Warning Over Looted Ukrainian Commodities

On the Ground

Ukrainian rescue workers are still recovering bodies from the debris of a five-storey apartment block where at least 47 people were killed, according to the State Emergencies Service. Russian rockets hit the building near Kramatorsk in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region over the weekend, in one of the deadliest such attacks of the war. Russian forces continued shelling the Slovyansk area, according to Ukraine General Staff statement. Russia also struck the Dnipro region further west overnight, the regional governor, Valentyn Reznichenko, said on his Telegram account.

(All times CET)

Turkey Hosts Talks On Ukraine Grain Exports (3:25 a.m.) 

Talks began in Turkey with Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations on ways to resume grain exports from Black Sea ports blocked by Russian troops.

Ukraine says 22 million tons of grain are awaiting to be shipped as the new harvest is now being reaped. Turkey said talks will be held at the military level and a statement will be made after the meeting.

Donetsk Separatists Say N. Korea Recognized Independence (3:17 p.m.)

North Korea recognized independence of the so-called Donetsk Peoples Republic, head of Ukraine’s separatist region Denis Pushilin says in statement, according to the Interfax news service.

Putin’s Daughter to Help Economy Beat Sanctions, RBC Reports (3:15 p.m.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s younger daughter has been handed a new role with the country’s most powerful business lobby to help beat the impact of international sanctions over his war in Ukraine, the RBC newspaper reported.

Katerina Tikhonova, who is sanctioned by the US and its allies, was named co-chairman of a committee to coordinate import-substitution efforts by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, known as RSPP, according to the report.

Ukraine Starts Harvest in Areas It Controls (2:04 p.m.)

Ukraine has begun harvesting grain in all of the regions that the government controls, and yields are “not bad,” Deputy Agriculture Minister Taras Vysotskyi said.

“We are constantly working to find all available routes for grain export — by trucks, railway and the Danube river,” he said, adding that the Danube won’t compensate for capacity lost at Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. “We are waiting for the results” of grain talks in Turkey, as “any positive agreement that will allow the possibility to increase exports is already significant support,” Vysotskyi said.

EU Plans Steps to Cushion Impact of Sudden Russian Gas Halt (1:50 p.m.)

The European Union is planning a set of urgent actions across the entire economy — including reductions to heating and cooling use and some market-based measures — to mitigate the impact of a possible natural gas supply cut-off by Russia, its biggest source of imports.

The 27-nation bloc’s executive arm sees a sizable risk that Moscow will halt the shipments of the fuel this year in an abrupt and unilateral way, according to a draft document seen by Bloomberg News. To prepare for this scenario, the commission plans to recommend additional measures to curb gas consumption and lower future costs for businesses and consumers.

Russia Expects Progress with EU on Kaliningrad (11:57 a.m.)

Russia expects “some progress” in efforts to resolve tensions over EU restrictions on the transit of goods to Kaliningrad, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

EU sanctions have limited the transit of goods to the Russian exclave on the Baltic Coast. Moscow has said it will retaliate against Lithuania for blocking rail transport of items such as steel in accordance with the bloc’s sanction measures.

Trading Looted Commodities Could Be a War Crime: Swiss AG (11:34 a.m.) 

The trading of looted commodities could constitute a war crime, Switzerland’s top prosecutor said in a thinly veiled warning to any company considering trading in coal, grain or other foodstuffs reportedly pillaged from Ukraine.

In an opinion piece for Le Temps newspaper on Wednesday, Swiss Attorney General Stefan Blaettler sketched out how economic crimes committed abroad could also be pursued by local prosecutors if linked to Swiss entities.

Even if international criminal law typically invokes images of genocide or other crimes against humanity, some offenses committed far from an ongoing conflict may still have a direct link to it and “this is especially the case with looting,” he wrote.

Europe Gas Prices Rise Over Nord Stream (10:14 a.m.)

European natural gas prices gained for a second day as traders remain on edge over what to expect when Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline completes maintenance.

The pipeline is shut for planned works for 10 days, but Germany has voiced concerns that Russia may not fully return the link into service afterwards. Deliveries from Gazprom PJSC have been curbed for weeks, both via Nord Stream and Ukraine.

Russia Earns More Despite Lower Oil Exports (10:08 a.m.)

Russia’s oil exports rose back above $20 billion in June despite lower shipments abroad because of a rally in energy prices, according to the International Energy Agency.

That was an increase by $700 million from a month earlier, even as Russia’s daily exports of crude-oil and products fell by 250,000 barrels to 7.4 million barrels, the lowest since August, the IEA estimated in its monthly report published on Wednesday.

Italy Pulls Ahead in Cutting Russia Reliance (7:00 a.m.)

Italy has done more to reduce its dependency on Russian gas imports than any other country in Europe five months after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine sparked a global energy crisis.

The country now relies on Russia for about a quarter of its gas imports, down from about 40% at the start of the year. Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, still imports about 35% of its needs from Russia. Across the European Union, governments are rushing to fill gas storage sites and considering alternative energy supplies, even at a potential cost to the environment.

China’s Trade With Russia Increases (4:49 a.m.)

China’s total trade with Russia was worth 519 billion yuan ($77 billion) in the first half of the year, up 27% from the same period in 2021, according to China Customs. In the first five months of the year, exports to Russia have slumped while imports jumped. Most of China’s imports from Russia are oil, gas and coal.

The US has stepped up criticism of China for its diplomatic support of Russia following the start of the war, which has contributed to surging inflation around the globe. Washington has warned Beijing, which declared a “no limits” friendship with Russia shortly before the February invasion, that its companies and officials could face sanctions if the country moves to assist Putin’s war.

Canada Turbine Deal Covers 2 Years: Globe (1:02 a.m.)

Canada’s agreement to allow the repair of Russian-owned turbines covers a period of as long as two years from now and would permit the import and re-export of six units, the Globe & Mail newspaper reported, citing two unidentified government officials.

It’s a much more extensive and long-lasting arrangement than was previously disclosed, the newspaper said. The arrangement allows Canada to revoke the sanction-relief permits at any time, it cited one of the officials as saying.

German officials have urged Canada to find a way to return the turbine, fearing Russia would use the issue as an excuse to shut down Nord Stream and cripple Germany’s ability to fill its gas storage tanks ahead of winter. The export decision was made over the objections of Ukraine’s government, which argued sending the pressurization turbine back would undermine the sanctions regime against Russia.

© 2022 Bloomberg


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Before the USA and Brittain launched the “War on Terror” to “install democracy” in Iraq and to rid the country of “weapons of mass destruction”, the Iraqui oil wells belonged to CNPC of China, PetroVietnam, LUKoil of Russia, Tatneft, Soyuzneftegaz and Stroytransgas-Oil of Russia, TotalFinaElf of France, Pertamina of Indonesia, and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India.

After the War on Terror and after no weapons of mass destruction were found, the oil well belong to BP, Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, and Total S.A.

Notice the difference? More Americans died during the war that was supposed to avenge the 9/11 event, than in the event itself. At the cost of 300 000 lives, depending on sources, the nation was destroyed, but the oil wells were liberated.

Who occupies the moral high ground in this international battle for commodities?

Keep in mind that European and American pension funds own substantial farmland in Ukraine. These pensioners have a vested interest in the war and in the unhindered flow of trade. So has Russia. The motivation for the current action of Russia in Ukraine is an exact copy of American action in the Persian Gulf. What is good for the goose should be good for the gander, shouldn’t it?

Foreign businesses are not that big in Ukrainian agriculture. Secondly, value of Ukraine’s grain export is a fraction of what Iraq is getting for their oil. Lastly, Russia directly attacked Ukraine. Western countries were reluctant to provide any significant support at the beginning. They didn’t believe Ukraine would last long anyway…
It’s not about the West, but about Russia’s ambition to revive something that can’t be revived.

Correct, the West’s hypocrisy is stark and there is very little that the US has not weaponised in order to keep their continued excessive privilege of the USD as the de-facto world reserve currency.

Opinions differ greatly on this topic. The debate is highly emotional and facts are pushed to the side. Objectivity is trampled upon. Subjectivity rules te day. That is why it is called a war after all. War is politics by other means.

What would our world look like now if the little poison dwarf did not invade democratic Ukraine?

Other (many) issues aside, the dwarf would have half as much NATO border as he will soon have. Own-goal at epic scale. Hehehehe

I wonder what the present value of 30 years of 35% discount on russian exports works out to? About 200,000 of those 50 billion ruble oligarch yachts probably. Shame!

Russia is now effectively China and India’s cheap-energy colony, which they gained without firing a bullet.

End of comments.



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