Increased panic buying of food due to coronavirus lockdowns has led to price spikes for the world’s two staple grains, rice and wheat. Importers rushed to stockpile the goods, while exporters have curbed shipments.

The price of rice has hit seven-year highs, while wheat futures have risen by around 15 percent since the second half of March. The International Grain Council expects a sharp upturn in near-term demand for rice and wheat-based foods.

According to the Thai Rice Exporters Association, the price of five percent broken white rice (the industry benchmark) rose 12 percent between March 25 and April 1. Rice prices are now the highest since late April 2013, Reuters data showed.

“Supply is currently tightening due to the impact of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic on demand and trade, as well as to the aftermath of bad weather in key producers (severe drought in South East Asia and Australia),” said Fitch Solutions. (RT)