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Supply Chain

Wheat Rises To 14-Year Top As Russia-Ukraine War Tightens Supplies

Chicago wheat futures rose more than 5% on Monday, hitting a 14-year top on concerns over global supplies amid an escalating Russia-Ukraine war.

Corn rose 2% while soybeans gained more than 1%.

"U.S. basis continues to widen. A large premium on prompt U.S. wheat makes sense," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. "Whether that premium is now too large is another question."

The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) most-active wheat contract added 5.2% to $12.36-1/2 a bushel, as of 0357 GMT, after hitting its highest since March 2008 at $12.49 a bushel, earlier in the session.

The wheat market jumped more than 40% last week, its biggest weekly rise on record.

Corn Cv1 rose 2.8% to $7.75-1/2 a bushel and soybeans Sv1 gained 1.5% at $16.85-1/2 a bushel.

Alternative Supply Channels

With Ukrainian ports closed and operators reluctant to trade Russian wheat in the face of Western financial sanctions, buyers are trying to find alternative suppliers.

Russia and Ukraine account for about 29% of global wheat exports, 19% of corn exports and 80% of exports of sunflower oil, which competes with soyoil.

Louis Dreyfus Co, one of the world's largest agricultural commodity merchants, said it had suspended operations in Russia.

Export demand for wheat from the European Union surged this week and is expected to continue as fighting disrupts shipments from Ukraine and Russia, traders said on Friday.

World Food Prices

World food prices hit a record high in February, jumping 20.7% from a year earlier, led by a surge in vegetable oils and dairy products, the U.N. food agency said.

The Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) food price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 140.7 points last month against a downwardly revised 135.4 in January.

China sold 526,254 tonnes of wheat, or 100% of its total offer, in an auction of state reserves, at an average selling price of 3,054 yuan ($483.32) per tonne, the National Grain Trade Centre said on Monday.

China's soybean imports in the first two months of 2022 rose from the previous year, customs data showed on Monday.

China, the world's top importer of soybeans, brought in 13.94 tonnes of the oilseed in the Jan-Feb period, up 4.1% from 13.41 million tonnes in the previous year, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

Large speculators raised their net long position in CBOT corn futures in the week to March 1, regulatory data released on Friday showed.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's weekly commitments of traders report also showed that noncommercial traders, a category that includes hedge funds, trimmed their net short position in CBOT wheat and cut their net long position in soybeans.

News by Reuters, edited by ESM – your source for the latest Supply Chain news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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