Ukraine: Food price spikes to hit everyone World Bank president warns

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

World Bank president David Malpass spoke about the impact of the war in Ukraine
World Bank president David Malpass spoke about the impact of the war in Ukraine

Related tags: Supply chain

The war in Ukraine will mean sudden shortages of energy, fertilizer, and food, the head of the World Bank has warned.

World Bank president David Malpass has also told the BBC that the world faces a "human catastrophe"​ from a food crisis arising from Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The World Bank has also calculated there could be 37% increase in food prices. 

Malpass, who recently gave a speech about the challenges to growth, security and stability, said the war and its consequences would see price rise. 

“Food price spikes hit everyone and are devastating for the poorest and most vulnerable,”​ he said. 

The war in Ukraine and its consequences are also creating sudden shortages of energy, fertilizer, and food, pitting people against each other and their governments. Even people who are physically distant from this conflict are feeling its impacts,” he said. 

Prices soaring

He added that trade disruptions have already sent grain and commodity prices soaring, with wheat exports from Black Sea ports being “sharply curtailed.”

His view was supported by the latest UK Lloyds Recovery Tracker ​ which saw UK food and drink manufacturing output fall to an 8-month low.

He admits that global food commodity markets are large and well-established, and tend to self-adjust to disruptions in production. 

However he added: “Additional factors are making the current food supply problems more acute – namely the supply of fertilizers, energy prices, and self-imposed food export restrictions.”

Fertilizer prices

He added: “Fertilizer prices are dependent on natural gas prices, which have surged. As LNG is shipped to Europe, LNG shortages are occurring elsewhere, reducing fertilizer production, and disrupting the sowing season and harvest productivity. Russia and Belarus are both large fertilizer producers, adding materially to the problem.”

Malpass added that never have so many countries experienced a recession at once, suffering lost capital, jobs, and livelihoods.  

“At the same time, inflation continues to accelerate, reducing the real incomes of households around the world, especially the poor,”​ he said. 

Related topics: Supply Chain

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