In India, drought is wreaking havoc on grain harvests. While the country has banned all wheat exports to the rest of the world, the price of bread is in danger of exploding in France.
Inflation continues to grow in France: food prices are soaring and shortages are legion. If the war in Ukraine is aggravating this situation, the same goes for the episodes of intense and unprecedented droughts that are hitting Asia and directly threatening wheat production. A phenomenon that could cause a sharp increase in the price of bread in France.
According to INSEE, the price of a kilo of baguette bread cost 3.64 euros in January 2022, 3.66 euros in March and 3.68 euros in April. By way of comparison, when in 2021 drought hit Canada, the leading mustard seed producing country, pot prices jumped in France. Could the same scenario, transposed to wheat, be happening again?
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The shortage of raw material
Ukraine, the “breadbasket” of Europe, sees its exports greatly reduced with the war raging on its soil. To prevent a shortage, France must therefore rely on other exporting countries. But India, the second wheat producer in the world, is now out of the game: because of temperatures exceeding 50 degrees and the severe drought that is currently raging there, the government has decided to ban the export of wheat in order to feed its own population.
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This shortage, which is driving up the price of flour, is already having an impact on bread prices here. As reported by our colleagues from Franceinfo, some French bakers have increased the price of their baguette by 10%, with a price now set at 1.30 euros.
To overcome this export problem, France could bet on its own cereal harvests. This is without counting on the drought which is also active at the moment in France.
Since the start of the year, the rainfall deficit, reaching 40% in certain regions, has not helped French wheat producers. While nearly fifteen departments are on drought alert in May, farmers should not be able to ensure the expected cereal production on their own.
Shortage, protectionism, war, drought… the price of the baguette is therefore on track to follow the inflationary current. While the G7 fears a “worsening of the food crisis” at the global level, the Indian government nevertheless stresses that it allows itself the right to sell to countries in a situation of “essential need”.
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