One knock-on effect of the war in Ukraine has been a jump in the global price of wheat—to its highest level since 2008. Russia and Ukraine account for a third of the world wheat supply, and Ukraine’s most productive regions lie in the path of the conflict. If Ukrainian wheat is taken off the market, or ports are badly damaged, prices could possibly double. That would especially hurt the Middle East and North Africa—but also places as far afield as Bangladesh and Nigeria, which are major importers of Russian and Ukrainian wheat. The real test for the world supply will be the next harvest in four months’ time. If Western sanctions target Russian production—or Moscow angrily responds to pressure by squeezing wheat supplies—then shortages could really bite, potentially worsening global huger.
Price stability may depend on what China decides to do, analysts say. If it buys up Russia’s wheat, that would free up supplies in other markets that China had previously relied on, which could take the heat off global prices.
From The New Humanitarian, Feb. 25.
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