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Ukraine Crisis Likely to Push Up Wheat Prices


[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]by Felix Richter[/box]

As oil and gas prices are surging amid the Russian escalation in the Ukraine, consumers around the world are going to see the immediate effects of the crisis at the gas pump or in their next utility bill.

It doesn‘t stop there, however, as other commodity prices are also set to rise given Russia‘s role as a „commodity superstore“ in the world market, as analysts at RBC Capital Markets fittingly put it. Aside from oil, gas and several precious metals, Russia is also a major producer of wheat. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Russia produced 86 million tonnes of the popular grain in 2020, trailing only China and India.

Making things worse, both China and India consume the lion’s share of their production domestically, making Russia the biggest exporter of wheat by a significant margin. As the following chart, based on data from the UN’s Comtrade Database shows, both Russia and Ukraine are among the top 5 wheat exporters, fueling fears that the crisis could exacerbate inflation pressure in the food aisle. On Thursday, wheat futures rose to the highest level since 2008, building on top of a rally that had been going on since mid-2020.

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