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Wheat Prices Climb After India Export Ban, as Details of the New Restrictions Assessed

Financial Times writers Hudson Lockett and Nic Fildes reported yesterday that, “Wheat prices rose by the maximum amount allowed on Monday after India imposed a ban on exports, stoking pressure on food costs as tight global supplies roiled international markets.

“Futures traded in Chicago rose as much as 5.9 per cent to $12.47 a bushel, their highest level in two months. Wheat prices have risen more than 60 per cent this year, driven up by disruption from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The two European countries account for almost a third of the world’s wheat exports.”

“Wheat prices rise almost 6% as India export ban shakes markets,” by Hudson Lockett and Nic Fildes. The Financial Times (May 15, 2022).

The FT article stated that, “Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said the wheat export ban would be a ‘shape shifter‘ for global markets.

“‘The trade will likely need to replace at least some Indian wheat in the pipeline,’ Gorey said. ‘We suspect that will create an initial flurry of trading but the market will take some time to assess the details.'”

And Bloomberg writer Pratik Parija reported today that,

The surprising thing is that India isn’t even a prominent exporter on the world stage. The fact that it could have such a major impact underscores the bleak prospect for global wheat supplies.

“War has crippled Ukraine’s exports, and now droughts, floods and heat waves threaten crops in most major producers.”

“Wheat Soars in Risk to Food Inflation as India Restricts Exports,” by Pratik Parija. Bloomberg News (May 16, 2022).

Also today, Reuters writer Enrico Dela Cruz reported that, “The overall grains supply picture looks worrisome, analysts said, with crop conditions for French wheat and barley in the EU’s biggest grain-growing country also hit by dry weather.

“Pressed into emergency service by the blockade of Ukraine’s seaports by Russian invaders, neighbouring Romania is racing against time to move Ukrainian grain to global markets before the next harvest triggers bottlenecks.”

Nonetheless, Bloomberg writer Jasmine Ng reported yesterday that, “India’s wheat export restrictions created some high-octane headlines and triggered a price surge, but details might prove less explosive.”

“India Wheat Export Curb to Be Less Explosive Than Prices Suggest,” by Jasmine Ng. Bloomberg News (May 15, 2022).

Egypt, one of the world’s top wheat importers, said Sunday that its government purchases are exempt from the curbs. It has agreed to buy 500,000 tons of wheat from India, which it recently approved as an origin for imports,” the Bloomberg article said.

The Bloomberg article pointed out that, “‘This doesn’t mean the world fully loses Indian wheat exports, but it will change trade flows and likely reduces India’s export volumes,’ said Dennis Voznesenski, an analyst at Rabobank in Sydney. Harvests from Europe, North America and Russia will start to become available soon, which will alleviate supply tightness in the physical markets and ease inflationary pressures.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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