The reasons for the optimism seen on the renewal of the Ukrainian grain agreement

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Reuters — A United Nations source said on Wednesday they had reason to be “cautiously optimistic” about the renewal of a Black Sea grain export deal, which is set to be rolled over on Saturday unless it fails. there are any objections.

The UN-backed July 22 deal allowed the resumption of grain shipments from some Ukrainian Black Sea ports, resulting in shipments of around 10 million tonnes and helping to reduce international prices. Ukraine was exporting five to six million tons of agricultural products by sea every month before the Russian invasion in February blocked Ukrainian ports.

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“The rest is up to the parties, obviously – but all the signs we have are positive signs in that direction,” the UN source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Moscow suspended its participation in the deal at the end of October, but rejoined after four days, allaying fears of further disruption to grain exports from one of the world’s biggest suppliers at a time of runaway global food inflation.

Optimism has grown that Russia will approve the continuation of the deal after lengthy discussions of Moscow’s grievances over obstacles to its grain and fertilizer exports.

One of the issues concerns financial transactions, the UN source said, adding that the parties have been trying to find practical ways for the Russian Agricultural Bank to conduct financial transactions and payments under restrictions imposed by the West.

The source added that they were exploring solutions with correspondent banks with their own systems to make progress on the matter. Reuters reported earlier this month that Russia wants the West to ease restrictions on state agricultural lender Rosselkhozbank, or the Russian Agricultural Bank, to facilitate Russian grain exports, according to four sources familiar with the request.

The UN said on Tuesday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had a “very frank and open discussion” on the Black Sea grain deal with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali.

– Reporting for Reuters by Daphne Psaledakis and Jonathan Saul.

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