Coronavirus sends global markets into tailspin

COVID-19 pandemic sends global markets into tailspin

Grains
The economic fallout of coronavirus will be difficult to fathom, with entire industries shutting down.

The economic fallout of coronavirus will be difficult to fathom, with entire industries shutting down.

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World markets have been sent spiralling as coronavirus continues to sweep the globe.

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World financial, energy and ag commodity markets have been sent spiralling as coronavirus continues to sweep the globe.

The enormity of the global coronavirus economic pain is becoming more apparent on the sheer size of the economic packages governments are rolling out. The US is expected to approve $500 billion in cash payments to taxpayers while the UK has unveiled a 330 billion pound aid package. Other European countries are amid writing open cheques to save their economies from being annihilated by the coronavirus fallout.

Crude oil values have slumped by 50 per cent in March as countries shut boarders and lock down entire communities to control the spread of the virus. The economic fallout will be difficult to fathom, with entire industries shutting down.

Global corn markets, the major feed grain in the world, have slumped 30pc in the past 10 weeks as demand crumbles. More than a third of the US corn crop is converted into ethanol, but recent sharp declines in energy prices is making this unviable.

International wheat prices have also tumbled on the virus fallout, but declines have been more moderate. Global buyers are starting to report increased demand for wheat as panic buying of staples filters through to flour mills.

Local supermarkets have been stripped bare of staple food items like pasta, rice, flour and meat. The extent of the surge in demand has caught many by surprise.

Supermarkets have requested additional supplies from food manufactures which in turn has grain buyers sounding out additional purchases of cereal grains, including wheat, oats and barley.

Experts have moved to calm consumer fears of food shortages, saying there is plenty to go around. Supply chains are also expected to feel the strain of the demand surge as shoppers clamour to secure weeks of basic food items in advance.

Currency markets are also in turmoil with the Australian dollar plummeting 17pc from the start of the year to 57.5 cents to the US dollar. The rapid devaluation of the local currency is making grains that were previously uncompetitive, attractive to overseas buyers.

Traders are saying that China bought upwards of 200,000 tonnes of Australian barley in recent weeks and may have secured smaller volumes of sorghum.

The escalation of panic buying of food in the supermarkets has also coincided with a sharp kick in domestic grain prices. Melbourne wheat bids have jumped more than $25 since early March to $385 and similar increases have been seen in Western Australia.

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