- Wheat futures traded limit up for the fifth day in a row on Monday, making new record highs.
- The commodity futures have surged nearly 50% since Russia invaded Ukraine, which is often called the bread basket of Europe.
- Ukraine is responsible for more than 10% of global wheat production.
The surge in wheat prices, with the Chicago SRW Wheat futures jumping 7% to $12.94 per bushel, comes as Ukraine’s farm season will no doubt be disrupted by the ongoing attack by Russia. In futures markets, limit up or down refers to the maximum increase or decrease in price that is allowed in a single trading day. For wheat, the limit up is triggered when prices trade up $0.85 per bushel.
Ukraine is responsible for more than 10% of global wheat production, making it the fifth largest wheat producer in the world. Meanwhile, Russia is responsible for more than 20% of global wheat production, and sanctions from western countries will complicate the country’s ability to sell one of its biggest exports.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, wheat futures have soared nearly 50%, leading a broad surge in commodity prices as investors fret about more supply chain disruptions that are poised to be extended from the COVID-19 pandemic.
WTI Crude Oil climbed as much as 10% in early Monday trades, hitting $130 per barrel, representing its highest level since 2008.
Meanwhile, nickel prices saw their biggest single-day jump on record due to worries about shortages from Russia, which is a major supplier of the commodity. Nickel prices in London surged more than 60% to $46,000 per tonne.
The surge in commodities mean a persistence in rising inflation is likely, which could put even more pressure on the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates and end its balance sheet expansion when it meets later this month.
While it will take time for rising wheat prices to hit the supply chain, and barring a sudden reversal, a knock-on effect will be rising prices for key food staples like bread and pasta, further exacerbating high inflation.