| 21 April 2024, Sunday |

Grains surge amid supply concerns over Ukraine

Wheat prices soared as concerns about the future of grain exports from Eastern Europe grew as tensions over Ukraine escalated.

As the US indicated intelligence shows Russia may strike Ukraine before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics end on February 20, futures in Chicago soared as much as 4.4 percent, while maize and soybean prices also rose. Moscow has stated that it has no plans to invade.

In terms of wheat, Ukraine and Russia are heavyweights, supplying more than a quarter of global supplies. They also play a significant part in the global production of corn and sunflower oil. A protracted conflict in the region might keep prices of such goods high, adding to food expenses that are already among the highest in the world.

While a direct dispute may result in a liquidation of assets in order to reduce risk, the “final issue for wheat would be bullish for prices,” according to Rich Nelson, chief strategist at Allendale in the United States.

On Friday, implied volatility on March wheat options surged from 32% to 48%, with overall volume up 60%. Benchmark futures in Chicago for May delivery rose to their highest level in over four months before reversing course to finish the day up 3.2 percent at $8.04 a bushel.

The Bloomberg Agriculture Spot Subindex hit an all-time high earlier this week, as the outlook for South American soybean and corn crops remained bleak. Prices in the grains, oilseeds, and softs sectors have all lately risen as supply shortages abound, indicating that food inflation, which is already affecting consumers around the world, is likely to continue.

A new South American forecast provided more strong indicators for soybeans on Friday. According to Celso Oliveira, a Climatempo meteorologist, soil moisture in Brazil’s south is expected to continue to decline over the next 10 days due to dry conditions and high temperatures, aggravating circumstances for still-developing crops.

  • The National News