Wheat is leading the charge higher yet again after news outlets yesterday reported a flurry of export restrictions for some staple commodities from the governments of Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Serbia, and Russia. To be clear, there have not been any restrictions on wheat exports, but the coronavirus-inspired hoarding on the part of consumers is prompting political concern over food inflation. Russia suspended the export of groats–a popular side dish in Russia. Kazakhstan banned exports of flour, carrots, sugar, and potatoes. Vietnam suspended export registrations for rice. Serbia suspended sunflower oil exports.
Media attention to these measures is attracting financial players to buy wheat futures. Chicago SRW futures have the legacy status as a benchmark for world wheat; however, the smaller crop this year and multi-year trend of volume and open interest migrating to KC leaves the W futures market with less commercial liquidity than would be historically normal; this imbalance is driving sharp gains in Chicago. Commercial trade in world wheat, as well as the demand for bread and pasta products being hoarded by consumers, would be more fundamentally represented by KW and MW futures.
Corn and soybeans are both firmer in quiet trade.