Keeping China fed as inflation surges brings risk for commodity prices

BEDEVILLED by high fuel and fertiliser costs, along with a labour crisis driven by Covid-19 restrictions, China risks a smaller autumn harvest that could supercharge demand for commodities just as the world can afford it least.
Global food prices have spiked since Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, a major world producer of wheat, corn and sunflower oil, driving costs to record highs.
Moscow stands accused of pushing the globe to the brink of catastrophe by blockading Ukrainian ports and seizing commodity stocks, driving up prices and leaving the world’s poorest nations facing hunger.
China is relatively self-reliant, producing more than 95 per cent of its needs in rice, wheat and maize.
But relentless Covid disruptions – caused by restrictions on the movement of goods and farm workers – on top of higher fertiliser and fuel costs and issues with access to equipment, threaten the autumn harvest of key crops such as soybean and corn.


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