Rising tensions in Ukraine — a long-reputed breadbasket of Europe — has Ontario agricultural market watchers keeping a close eye on the upward implications for crop prices.
With 100,000 Russian troops poised on Ukraine’s border, “it’s really escalating commodity prices,” Rutters Elevators’ Michael Aube observed Jan. 26. Aube estimated that the geopolitical situation was largely responsible for pumping up corn and wheat prices 10 and 12% that week. “We’re hitting new highs for the year already.”
Elevator operator and market analyst Steve Kell pointed out that Ukraine farmers “are big competitors of ours, especially on corn going into Europe.” He advised an early-January conference audience to be aware of potential “chaos in a marketplace with a major producer of grain” — but expressed hope of no military conflict “for the sake of the world.”
But also watch the China-Taiwan situation, Kell recommended. For starters, a military conflict there could have implications for China’s status as the top single consumer of the world’s soybeans.