Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chinese Drought Will Add to Food Inflation

From the WSJ:

A United Nations agency said this year's wheat crop is at risk in at least five Chinese provinces, echoing continuous warnings from China that its major northern wheat growing areas are facing an epic drought.

In a rare special early warning global alert, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said north China's "ongoing drought is potentially a serious problem." The Rome-based FAO, which based its notice partly on a stream of warnings from Beijing about the wheat crop, said the provinces primarily affected include Shandong, Jiangsu, Henan, Hebei and Shanxi, which together represent about two-thirds of China's national wheat production.

For weeks, Beijing officials have underscored their concern about risks to the wheat crop, with the state-run Xinhua news agency reporting on Tuesday that the production base in Shandong province "is bracing for its worst drought in 200 years."


Global wheat producers, including in the U.S., have been attentive to the possibility China will import wheat this year at a time when a half-year-old Russian export ban is in place after wildfires there and when Australian producers have faced weeks of adverse weather. On Tuesday, U.S. wheat futures surged to a 30-month high.