Wheat prices surged Monday after Russia suspended a deal guaranteeing safe passage of Ukrainian exports through the Black Sea, raising concerns over global food supplies.
Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of wheat, corn and vegetable oil, and the UN-brokered deal – which was set to expire on November 19 – has been vital to help alleviate a global food crisis.
CBOT wheat (W_1:COM) for December delivery settled +5.9% to $8.85 per bushel, November soybeans (S_1:COM) ended +1.3% to $14.20 per bushel, and December corn (C_1:COM) closed +1.2% to $6.90 3/4 per bushel.
Ships carrying grain nevertheless continued to sail from Ukrainian ports on Monday, suggesting Russia had stopped short of reimposing a blockade.
While shipments of grain reportedly are still leaving Ukraine, significant doubts about the security of the ships are now raised, and insurers likely will be much more reluctant to insure shipments leaving without assurance that Russia will not disturb them.
According to Reuters, Lloyd’s of London insurer Ascot has suspended writing cover for new shipments using the Ukrainian grains corridor in the Black Sea until it has more clarity about the situation.
Russia’s moves overshadowed market pressure from a firmer dollar, which tends to make U.S. grains less competitive globally, and seasonal pressure from the ongoing Midwest harvest.
Since Russia and Ukraine signed the grain deal on July 22, more than 9M metric tons of corn, wheat, sunflower products, barley, rapeseed and soy have been exported from Ukraine.