Russia-Ukraine war and its impact on global trade and economy

Russia-Ukraine war and its impact on global trade and economy

International trade is at the precipice of a change that will reshape the world order, especially in the export import arena. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent economic sanctions have not only left the world hungry but also initiated cautionary export bans by several countries including India and Kazakhstan’s wheat ban, Indonesia’s palm oil ban and most recently, Malaysia’s chicken exports ban. 

All this seems to be just the beginning of a major disruption in global supply chains, particularly for commodities such as food grains, edible oils and fertilizers, the very backbone of agricultural economies. India, reprimanded for its stance in wheat export ban to regulate domestic prices, may be facing the criticism but is more than willing to provide expertise that will help nations like Egypt and Turkey to maximize their wheat cultivation outputs. 

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The problem is, this really doesn’t end with India and the timing of Russia’s invasion could not have been worse. The whole world was finally recovering from the pandemic with supply chains restored and global trade finally coming back to its original shape and form. Unfortunately, just as economies were starting to loosen on the contingency plans of the pandemic, the war put them back in the fear mode, with India citing the reason being a buffer of 20 million tons of wheat for domestic use to avoid famines in states dependent on the supply from central government’s quota.

In the recent plea, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva begged India to reconsider wheat export ban, fearing it could turn into a snowball effect, prompting other nations to levy export bans of their own too. 

Similar concerns were earlier raised by the WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – “Smaller supplies and higher prices for food mean that the world’s poor could be forced to do without.” In addition, the latest World Bank report states that world trade will drop by 1 percent in the aftermath of the war.

So what are those export commodities that have been most impacted by the war and Russia and Ukraine’s sudden cease in export and supply. Here we not only learn about these products but also what can importers and wholesale buyers do to keep the imports going with alternative supply chains. And finally, what are those alternatives that are still capable and functioning despite the several recent export bans?

Wheat – As soon as the bread basket of the world put a lid on, nations across the globe found themselves in a chaos and panic that only a handful of agro economies could pacify. India took the lead position, not just because of the extremely profitable opportunities wheat exports could rake in but also by the virtue of the recent export surplus records broken by the South Asian powerhouse.  Alas, the surge in wheat exports was short-lived and domestic price inflation caused India to impose an export ban citing protectionism. Turkey & Egypt soon followed suit, meanwhile Serbia, Argentina and Kazakhstan put a cap on how much wheat exports are allowed, leaving the rest of the world hungry for the grain. As a result, the prices for wheat have increased by 60% worsening the situation. The suppliers are however eager to handle export orders well within their rights. In compliance with the decision made by their respective countries, available wheat suppliers from India, Argentina, Serbia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Canada and United States can be found in in the link below-

  • Edible Oils – Ukraine and Russia had an impressive monopoly on the exports of Sunflower and soybean oils until the war turned the state of affairs that caused nations like Indonesia to impose a ban on palm oil, an acceptable alternative to the oil supply halted by Ukraine and Russia. While Egypt and Serbia continue to restrict exports of cooking oil, Indonesia finally reversed its ban on palm oil export, giving India a huge relief. However, Serbia, Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, Kyrgyzstan, Ghana and several other edible oil exporting nations have taken control of their production output in a cascading effect started in the aftermath of the war. In such a situation, all eyes are on countries like France, India, Argentina, with its temporary month long ban of edible oils, and other notables – Thailand, Colombia, Canada, United States, Brazil and Netherlands to curb inflationary prices and give some respite to the world very much on the verge of being a target of the so called economic weapons these export bans have become. Suppliers from these countries are both eager and able to fulfill export orders –
  • Corn – Ukraine’s exports of corn were a steady top 5 until 2021 but Russia’s invasion closed the borders for any business, leaving the shortage that isn’t being met by a host of nations that are partially capable of fulfilling the collective export order of the world. Argentina, Egypt have seized control of the current crop, banning any possible exports sending chills to the US corn prices that have elevated to a 7 year high. Serbia, a small nation in Europe blessed with the right climate for agriculture, has restricted the quantities of corn as an attempt to provide for the domestic demand and avoid chaos. In such a scenario, Brazil has opened its doors to Chinese importers, joining the United States, Canada, India, South Africa and France as nations still actively exporting corn although at much higher prices. Suppliers from these and a few other countries can be approached for corn imports –
  • Red & Poultry Meat – Both Turkey and Malaysia’s decision to ban exports of meat – Beef, Mutton, Goat & Chicken has caused serious troubles in the food export chain. Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong imported chicken from Malaysia as did Turkey to UAE. Fortunately, Brazil in South America, China in Asia and Germany and a few others in Europe continue to export chicken to all those in need, signaling the roles and responsibilities of strong economies on the world trade map.
  • Fertilizers – This issue had been temporarily handled by the switch to alternative fertilizers by several countries initially affected by it. But since Turkey and Egypt have joined the export ban bandwagon and countries like China and the United States are barely able to manage domestic consumption, relatively poorer nations like Nepal and Vietnam are bearing the brunt of the shortage. Wholesale buyers and importers looking for fertilizer suppliers from available countries can click the link below–
  • Copper – One of the leading producers of copper concentrates, Democratic Republic of Congo, has decided to halve exports of cobalt and copper. This, in addition to the exports of Copper halted by Russia, owing to the economic sanctions, may very well be the next big news on the economic horizon. Although Chile, Peru, China, the United States and Australia continue to export copper, experts predict that any adverse decision could send shockwaves to the entire world, now that copper from Russia is out of reach to several nations. Wholesale Buyers and Importers looking to place export orders can do so by approaching available suppliers in these countries. Link below –
  • It is difficult to say when the current chaos in global trade will come to an end. If the past few years are any indication, disruptions in supply have created the kind of demand that is failing to be met, because of the obvious export bans by countries in the righteous name of protectionism. Russian and Ukrainian export commodities are too valuable and often rare to come to a supply halt but it is in an adversity like this that the rest of the nations of the world must come together and benefit from the globalization that has been restored in the post pandemic world. 

If you’re a business impacted by the consequences of the ongoing war and wish to know more about your options and alternatives, you can contact us by writing at for expert help or by calling us at one of the regional numbers. 

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