Chicago wheat futures again jump by the daily limit, capping a record 40% gain this week, as fears rise that Russia's invasion of Ukraine will cause massive disruption to supplies from the Black Sea region.
Investor jitters are amplified following news of a fire at a Ukrainian nuclear power plant as Russian forces seized control of the site, sending CBOT wheat futures (W_1:COM) up by the exchange limit for a fifth straight day, +6.6% to a 14-year high $12.09 per bushel.
Also, CBOT corn (C_1:COM) rose to its highest since September 2012 at $7.82 1/2 per bushel before ending the overnight session +4.1% at $7.78 1/4, and soybean (S_1:COM) +0.8% at $16.58 3/4 per bushel.
The conflict has closed major ports in Ukraine, severed logistics and transport links, and dramatically raised freight and insurance costs, leaving grain importers looking elsewhere and causing "unprecedented" demand for spot wheat supply, according to the Agritel consultancy.
University of Illinois agricultural economist Scott Irwin said this week that the current chaos out of the Black Sea will be "the biggest supply shock to global grain markets in my lifetime."