CHICAGO: Chicago wheat futures hit the daily 70-cent trading limit cap on Monday after India banned exports of the grain, an abrupt policy change that fanned concern about global supplies strained by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The wheat rally sent spillover strength to corn futures, as global buyers, who were banking on supplies from the world’s second-biggest wheat producer, scrambled to respond, traders said. It also gave a bump to soybean futures amid questions of ripple effects the ban could have on India’s import demand for vegetable oils, they said.
India’s embargo, prompted by a heatwave that has cut harvest prospects and sent domestic prices soaring, has hit hopes of record wheat shipments from the country in the coming year that would alleviate war-reduced supply from Ukraine. It also comes as harsh weather, including drought in the southern US Plains and parts of France, are eroding production potential in other major exporting countries.
And the global supply chain ripple effects off the news were almost immediate: India’s wheat export ban trapped some 1.8 million tonnes of grain at ports, leaving traders facing heavy losses from the prospect of selling onto a weaker domestic market.
Given the news, traders said they will be watching weekly US crop data later on Monday for an update on wheat conditions and progress in corn and soybean planting, which has been delayed by cool, wet weather.
“I’m watching it like a hawk,” said Jack Scoville, market analyst at The Price Futures Group. “We need every bushel of yield we can manage this year.”