Here’s what’s been restricted and what’s planned
- Food prices are skyrocketing because of export bans and it’s affecting everything from burgers to cereal.
- Staples such as wheat, sugar and cooking oils have become less available.
- “Prices are really high and they don’t seem to be coming down anytime soon,” said an industry expert.
Heat waves, crop failures, supply chain bottlenecks and war-related disruptions in Ukraine have pushed up food prices this year. In response, a number of countries around the world have imposed export bans to protect their own domestic food supply, which has only compounded the problem.
Export bans have affected food products, from wheat and beef to palm oil, as countries scramble to protect domestic prices and maintain food security. And the scenario has been further complicated by supply chain disruptions induced by COVID-19 and environmental factors such as last year’s droughts.
“There are a myriad of problems, none of which would resolve quickly,” Marc Ostwald, chief economist at ADM Investor Services International, a UK-based multi-asset brokerage, told Insider.
This is not the first time that the world has experienced a shock in agricultural commodity prices. Food inflation was a problem from 2007 to 2008 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, where countries like Ukraine and other major grain exporters banned supplies to defend domestic prices. India and Vietnam, the biggest rice exporters, have also restricted imports to combat soaring food prices.
A similar situation is playing out now, where Ukraine has halted wheat exports again, partly because the war will almost certainly disrupt planting of the new crop this year. Indonesia imposed a blanket ban on the export of palm oil and Argentina blocked certain cuts of beef.
The bans only deepen a cost of living crisis, where people are facing soaring food price inflation and rising utility bills, after a series of sanctions on Russian energy exports .
“We’re at a point where prices are really high, and they don’t look like they’re going to come down anytime soon. As long as prices are high, some countries will be tempted to try to help their consumers by keeping prices low,” he said. said Joseph Glauber, a researcher at the International Food Policy Research Institute.
IFPRI experts also point out that more food export bans “tend to be contagious as other exporting countries follow suit and enforce their own bans”, suggesting further measures could be at hand. the horizon.
Here are the top agricultural exports that have been restricted over the past year and what that means for food prices. Industry experts also tell Insider which products might be banned next.