By Pavel Polityuk
KIEV, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Ukraine’s agriculture ministry on Thursday issued its first forecast for the country’s 2019 wheat harvest, saying that output could rise to 27.8 million tonnes from 24.6 million tonnes in 2018.
The ministry’s statement said the overall grain harvest could rise to 71.1 million tonnes from 69.8 million tonnes.
Ukraine, a leading global producer and exporter of grain, harvested a total of 39.2 million tonnes of grain from 66% of the sown area as of Aug. 27, ministry data shows.
The volume included about 28 million tonnes of wheat.
The ministry has not issued its grain export forecast for the 2019/20 season, which runs from July to June. Ukraine exported a record 50 million tonnes of grains in 2018/19.
It said on Wednesday that Ukraine has exported 7.6 million tonnes of grain, including 4 million tonnes of wheat, so far in the current season.
Grains, vegetable oils and oilseeds dominate Ukraine’s agricultural exports.
A source this week said the ministry had proposed that traders raise the volume of wheat available for export in the 2019/20 season to 19 million tonnes from 16 million in 2018/19.
It also said the volume could include 11 million tonnes of milling wheat, compared with 8 million tonnes the previous season.
Traders have said wheat exports could exceed the ministry’s estimate.
The ministry and traders sign a traditional annual memorandum each year to determine the forecast of how much wheat is expected to be exported in the marketing season.
In the document, traders promise not to exceed the agreed export volumes while the ministry promises to keep export rules unchanged.
The ministry said this year’s memorandum could be signed in September. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk Editing by David Goodman)