Wheat prices rose to a new record high in European markets on Monday after India decided to ban the export of the commodity due to the heat.

The price jumped to 435 euros ($ 453) per tonne when the Euronext market opened, compared to a previous record of 422 euros reached on Friday.

World wheat prices have risen due to fears of supplies following Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine’s agricultural country, which previously accounted for 12 percent of world exports.

The surge, exacerbated by fertilizer shortages and poor harvests, has spurred inflation around the world and raised fears of hunger and social unrest in poor countries.

India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer, said on Saturday that it was banning exports after the hottest March in history, and traders needed clear government approval to make new deals.

New Delhi has said the move is necessary to protect the food security of its 1.4 billion people amid declining production and a sharp rise in world prices.

In some parts of India, wheat and flour prices have jumped 20-40 percent in recent weeks, BVR Trade Minister Subramanyam said on Sunday.

Due to the sharp rise in world prices, some farmers sold to traders rather than the government.

This has caused the government to worry about its buffer reserves of nearly 20 million tonnes, depleted by the pandemic needed to distribute millions of poor families and to prevent any possible famine.

– “Exacerbate the crisis” –

Export deals agreed to the directive, issued on May 13, can still be executed, but future supplies require government approval, the report said.

However, exports could also occur if New Delhi approves requests from other governments “to meet their food security needs”.

India, which has large buffer reserves, has previously said it is ready to help make up for some of the supply shortages caused by the war in Ukraine.

Just last week, India said it would send delegations to Egypt, Turkey and other countries to discuss increasing wheat exports. It was unclear whether these visits would continue.

The ban on exports has drawn sharp criticism from the Big Seven industrialized nations, which have said such measures would “exacerbate the crisis” in rising commodity prices.

India has recorded the warmest March in history – to blame for climate change – and in recent weeks there has been heat with temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit).

This has hit farmers in northern India where wheat is grown, forcing the government to predict that production will decline this year by at least five per cent from 109 million tonnes in 2021.

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