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The Grocery Price Shock Is Coming to a Store Near You

A key measure of farming commodities has surged in recent days

A farmer operates a combine harvester during a wheat harvest at a farm near Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia, on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. Media reports suggesting China could soon target imports of Australian wheat, after already turning its attention to barley, wine, cotton and beef, have rattled the market.
Photographer: David Gray/Bloomberg

Corn, wheat, soybeans, vegetable oils: A small handful of commodities form the backbone of much of the world’s diet and they’re dramatically more expensive, flashing alarm signals for global shopping budgets.

This week, the Bloomberg Agriculture Spot Index — which tracks key farm products — surged the most in almost nine years, driven by a rally in crop futures. With global food prices already at the highest since mid-2014, this latest jump is being closely watched because staple crops are a ubiquitous influence on grocery shelves — from bread and pizza dough to meat and even soda.