Shoppers Scramble for Staples as Food Fallout From War Spreads Around World… Hundreds of Ships Trapped, Endangering Sailors and Global Supply Chain…

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Shoppers Scramble for Staples as the Food Fallout From the War in Ukraine Spreads Around the World

The shockwaves in global crop markets from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are now spreading to store shelves.

Worries about surging sunflower oil prices triggered heavy buying over the weekend in Turkey, as footage of citizens trying to grab tins of cheaper oil at one store went viral. In Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer, prices for some unsubsidized bread have jumped in the past week.

The war has already driven wheat prices 70% higher in Chicago this year and is threatening to upend global food trade. Russia and Ukraine are vital suppliers of grains, vegetable oil and fertilizers, which means that supply disruptions will be felt all over the world. Wheat prices have surpassed levels last seen during the 2008 global food crisis—which helped spark widespread protests—and a United Nations index of food prices hit a record in February.

Hundreds of Ships Trapped by Ukraine War, Endangering Sailors and Global Supply Chain

The crew on a Bangladeshi cargo ship stranded near the Ukrainian port of Olvia heard an explosion, then the bridge was engulfed in flames.

A missile struck the MV Banglar Samriddhi at 5:25 p.m. last Wednesday, killing one crew member and leaving several others with serious burns, according to Bangladeshi crew members, their families and Ukrainian authorities. It was the fifth merchant ship to be hit by artillery off Ukraine’s coast since Russia invaded.

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The war in Ukraine has severely hobbled shipping in the Black Sea, with broad consequences for international transport and global supply chains. Dozens of cargo ships are stranded at the Ukrainian port of Mykolaiv, shipping trackers said. An estimated 3,500 sailors have been stuck on some 200 ships at Ukrainian ports, according to London-based shipping tracker Windward Ltd. More ships are stranded around the globe than at any point since World War II, maritime historians said.

Surge in wheat prices to seed more suffering…

Russia’s invasion means bread prices will soar in some of the world’s poorest, most fragile countries, potentially igniting a cycle of instability.

Driving the news: Wheat prices shot to a record $12.94 per bushel, and are up an astonishing 70% over the last month, as measured by a type of futures contract on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Why it matters: Throughout history, surging bread costs — see the French and Russian Revolutions — have been a major source of instability and violence.

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Gold crosses $2,000; Nears Historic Highs…

  • Palladium briefly reached a record high of $3,440 on Monday amid fears of supply disruptions in the wake of an escalating Russia-Ukraine crisis.
  • Spot gold rose 1.5% to $1,997.91and briefly scaled the $2,000 mark, an all-time high since Aug. 19, 2020.
  • U.S. gold futures rose about 1.77% to $2,001.40.

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