Richard Wray
The Guardian
August 9, 2010

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Shoppers could see the cost of the meat and poultry in their baskets rise as the price of barley has more than doubled over the past six weeks due to continued fears over the drought affecting Russia and Ukraine.

Russia is the world’s second largest producer of barley after the EU and the cereal crop is used by many farmers as animal feed. The recent price rise could also have a possible knock-on effect on the cost of beer as a significant proportion of the remainder of barley production goes into the brewing trade on both sides of the Atlantic.

Barley is the latest commodity to see a dramatic price rise in recent weeks.

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The worst drought for generations in Russia has already caused a 50% jump in the price of wheat, the world’s most-consumed cereal, since June, and last week president Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would freeze grain exports. Attention is also being focused on Australia, the world’s fourth largest exporter of wheat, where this year’s crop may be hit by dry weather in Western Australia, which accounts for 40% of exports. Prices have also been put under pressure by very wet weather in Canada at planting time, which reduced acreage.

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