As the coronavirus pandemic penetrates more deeply into global supply chains, prices for key staples are starting to soar in some parts of the world.
Rice and wheat — crops that account for about a third of the world’s calories — have been making rapid climbs in spot and futures markets. For countries that rely on imports, this is creating an added financial burden just as the pandemic shatters their economies and erodes their purchasing power. In Nigeria, for example, the cost of rice in retail markets soared by more than 30% in the last four days of March alone.
It’s unclear what the biggest drivers were for the retail prices …. What is clear is that, while the world isn’t about to run out of food anytime soon, anxiety over policy makers’ ability to deliver it to the right place at the right time and at the right price is mounting.
While global grain inventories have been plentiful for several years, the response to the virus is unleashing ripple effects making it harder for staples to get where they’re needed and helping drive the price gains.