Futures Market News
Wheat prices rise, stirring fears in poor countries
Aug 18, 2010 03:41 PM
Wheat futures reversed earlier declines and gained 0.69 percent on Wednesday, rising to 688.50 cents per bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. The focus was once again on Russia's export bans and Ukraine's tariffs, which threaten to restrict the global supply of wheat, particularly to poor countries which depend on those crops.
The Associated Press reported on the situation in Egypt, which is becoming increasingly dire. Half of the nation's 80 million rely on subsidized bread - and Egypt imports over half of its wheat from Russia.
In 2007 and 2008, rising food prices caused breadlines, riots and social unrests in this massive but extraordinarily poor country. Subsidizing bread and wheat cost the Egyptian state over $3 billion per year, according to the news service.
It's no picnic in Russia, either, which has lost a third of its harvest to blazing temperatures and drought. Fires have scorched Western Russia, blanketing the country in smoke and, some say, toxic fumes.
Amidst this chaos, importers around the world are striving to get the grains they need. "Theres still a need for wheat," Larry Young of Covenant Trading told Bloomberg News. "Other countries still need to buy, so the demand is there."
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