Wheat price gains seen unlikely to fuel food crisis

Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:56pm GMT

* Wheat stocks bigger than in 2007/08 food price spike

* Production of maize, rice, other grains expected to rise

By Laura MacInnis

GENEVA, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Wheat price volatility linked to drought and fires in Russia is unlikely to strain global food supplies, despite growing fears of food inflation, an agricultural expert said on Monday.

Maximo Torero, director of trade and markets at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), said the jump in prices following a ban on grain exports from Russia was isolated, temporary and not indicative of a broader crisis.

"Volatility is not the same thing as inflation," Torero said in a research note, suggesting the market surges related to the Black Sea drought would not be sustained enough to drive up bread and other food prices long term.

"Recent spikes notwithstanding, the prevailing trend is flat or slightly downward. In consequence, there should be no knock-on effects," he said of the spot prices for wheat, which rose by nearly one-quarter in July.

A United Nations investigator warned last week that riots in Mozambique over high bread prices could spread across other poor countries dependent on imported food, also pointing to protests in Egypt and strains on farmers in Syria. [ID:nLDE6861G5]   Continued...

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