Ukraine says 2014 grain crop could hit record high

KIEV (Reuters) — Ukraine’s 2014 grain harvest could exceed last year’s record 63 million tonnes, Ukrainian agriculture minister Ihor Shvaika said on Wednesday, without forecasting an exact figure.

Analysts had forecast that Ukraine, one of the world’s biggest grain producers and exporters, would harvest 59 to 61 million tonnes of grain this year.

UkrAgroConsult agriculture consultancy this week increased its outlook for this year’s crop to 58.5 million tonnes due to higher production of wheat and barley.

The higher estimate comes despite earlier concerns that Ukraine’s crisis with Russia could curb output and exports.

Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, the three major global wheat exporters via the Black Sea, are expected to see a second consecutive year of large crops.