Business Maverick: Wheat Soars to Highest Since 2008, Adding to Inflation Worries

A combine harvester pumps freshly harvested wheat grain into a truck during a harvest by Agrotrade Group in Chernihiv, Ukraine, on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. Ukraine’s wheat harvest reached 19.1m tons as of Aug. 1, local Agriculture Ministry said in an emailed statement. Photographer: Vincent Mundy/Bloomberg

Futures in Chicago advanced as much as 2.8% to $9.6075 a bushel in early Asian trading after surging by the maximum allowed by the exchange Thursday and getting locked there for hours following the Russian invasion. Corn and soybeans also rose.Russia and Ukraine are key suppliers of a raft of agricultural goods to regions including Asia and the Middle East, and the conflict has the potential to upend global trade flows. They account for more than a quarter of the world’s trade in wheat, about a fifth of corn sales and 80% of sunflower oil exports.

Chicago futures extend rally on concerns about trade flows

The conflict is rippling through the agriculture sector. Some of the top crop traders such as Bunge Ltd. have been forced to shut down in the region, while Egypt — the world’s biggest wheat importer — canceled its tender Thursday after drawing a lone offer of French grain.

Benchmark wheat in Chicago was 1.7% higher at $9.5025 a bushel at 9:28 a.m. Singapore time. Corn rose 1.2% to $6.9825 a bushel, and soybeans were 0.8% higher.

In addition to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, drought in South America has parched harvest areas and dimmed the outlook for soybean supplies. Palm oil, which is used in thousands of products from cookies to shampoo, is on a record-breaking run as a labor shortage crimps output in major producer Malaysia.

Bunge suspended operations at two oilseed processing facilities in Ukraine and closed its local offices due to military action in the country, according to an emailed statement. Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. closed an oilseed crushing plant in Chornomorsk, a grain terminal in the port of Odessa, six silos and its trading office in Kyiv.


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