Middle East and North African countries, such as Morocco and Egypt, which are dependent on wheat imports, have rushed to boost their stockpiles.
Gavin Maquire of Iowa Grain in Chicago said markets were seeing “near-panic” buying by import-dependent nations.
The sharp increases in the cost of food, particularly milk and cheese, has reignited debate in Europe about the 2003 reform of the common agriculture policy, which cut support to farmers. Some French politicians, among others, say this contributed to reduced supplies and the recent price rises.
However, analysts said the bulk of the price increases was the result of rising demand from newly industrialised countries such as China, which are consuming more high-protein foodstuffs such as meat and dairy products, and tight supplies after crops were hit by adverse weather in Australia, the Black Sea basin and Europe.
The biofuel industry’s growing cereal consumption is also pushing up prices."