China is keeping mass quantities of grain in storage, to the point where it’s affecting global food prices, according to a columnist for Bloomberg.
Adam Minter, author of “Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade,” cites USDA statistics pointing to what he calls China’s “hoarding” of key commodities. By mid-2022, China will hold 69% of the world’s corn reserves, 60% of its rice and 51% of its wheat, according to USDA predictions.
China has several motivations for this stockpiling, Minter writes: fear of food shortages caused by COVID; a more general fear of famine, which has afflicted China throughout its history; declining agricultural productivity, due to factors like urbanization; and a strong currency that makes it easier to import.
The situation is beginning to affect the entire world, Minter suggests. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization recently warned that some lower-income nations might see increases of 20% or more in food import prices.