"The importance of the Black Sea region to global grain markets should not be understated," said Luke Mathews, an agricultural commodities strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, in a note. "Worries have continued to mount over the political situation in Ukraine and military positioning by Russia."
Mathews noted USDA data indicate Russia and Ukraine combined account for around 17 percent of the world trade in wheat, while Ukraine is expected to export around 16 percent of the world trade in corn.
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"Disruption of Ukrainian grain exports would have a material impact on global prices," Morgan Stanley said in a note. If the situation lingers, farmers' input costs, such as for fuel and fertilizer, may rise sharply, potentially leading to a decline in acreage planted, the bank said.
It also expected that the drop in the Ukrainian currency, the hryvnia, could lead farmers to hoard grains as a hedge against further depreciation. The U.S. dollar is fetching around 9.90 hryvnia, from around 8.90 on February 21, off the peak of around 11.00 touched on Thursday.
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The Ukrainian turmoil also comes as U.S., Australian and Argentinean wheat production may decline on factors including droughts and political uncertainty even as demand is increasing.
But will the commodity price increases take a bite out of your sandwich? The answer is probably "not yet."