Wheat costs rise virtually 6% as India export ban shakes markets

Wheat costs rose by the utmost quantity allowed on Monday after India imposed a ban on exports, stoking stress on meals prices as tight international provides roiled worldwide markets.

Futures traded in Chicago rose as a lot as 5.9 per cent to $12.47 a bushel, their highest degree in two months. Wheat costs have risen greater than 60 per cent this 12 months, pushed up by disruption from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The 2 European international locations account for nearly a 3rd of the world’s wheat exports.

India, the world’s second-biggest wheat producer after China, had crammed a niche in markets left by decreased output from Ukraine thanks partly to a bumper harvest of 7mn tonnes final 12 months, whilst inclement climate decreased the crops of different massive exporters.

However after denying it will halt exports, India reversed course over the weekend after home inflation surged to the very best degree in eight years on the again of rising meals costs.

New Delhi mentioned it was introducing the ban, with some exceptions, “in an effort to handle the general meals safety of the nation and to help the wants of the neighbouring and different susceptible international locations”.

“It simply exacerbates the meals scarcity threat, notably for creating nations and people traditionally depending on foodstuffs out of that area,” mentioned Robert Rennie, international head of market technique at Australian financial institution Westpac.

Line chart of Chicago wheat ($/bushel) showing Wheat prices jump after India export ban

The sudden shift adopted two months of searing heatwaves in India, with temperatures of as much as 45C throughout swaths of the wheat belt. Aid from the annual monsoon season might nonetheless be weeks away.

Hovering meals and gasoline costs additionally prompted the Financial institution of India to lift rates of interest this month for the primary time in 4 years.

Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural technique at Commonwealth Financial institution of Australia, mentioned the wheat export ban can be a “form shifter” for international markets.

“The commerce will doubtless want to switch a minimum of some Indian wheat within the pipeline,” Gorey mentioned. “We suspect that can create an preliminary flurry of buying and selling however the market will take a while to evaluate the small print.”

The export ban was introduced simply days after the US Division of Agriculture forecast that international wheat manufacturing would drop for the primary time in 4 years in 2022-23. The UN World Meals Programme mentioned this month that the struggle in Ukraine had uncovered the fragility of worldwide provide chains to sudden shocks, with critical penalties for meals safety.

Westpac’s Rennie mentioned the affect of the ban was more likely to hit creating markets in Africa and the Center East the toughest, because the developed world moved to shore up provide.

“It’s the humanitarian points which might be creating which, sadly, I feel we needs to be extra targeted on,” he mentioned.

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