Earlier reactions on the Russian wheat crisis seemed encouraging. As I wrote then, the problem would be contained as other countries, apparently, were in a position to pick up the slack. Now the U.N. reports that the situation is somewhat volatile because consumers fear a repeat of 2008 with shortages and high prices. There is also increased hoarding and speculation fueling higher wheat prices. Such crises are going to be more common in the future with climate change playing a big role. Consider the situation in Pakistan where floods have washed away crops, and destroyed wheat seed stocks. The planting season is here and there is a dearth of seeds. In water-logged areas planting seeds, even if there are any available , is not possible. In a country where wheat is a staple food, this will unleash unmet demand and escalating prices which would have an impact elsewhere as well.
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