GENEVA/HONG KONG -- Drought has plunged water levels in China to a once-in-decades low. Some Chinese cities, reliant on hydropower, are going without air conditioning as temperatures soar and residents walk on dry riverbeds. But the most catastrophic consequences could be in store for the country's food supply. On Aug. 23, four government departments warned that the autumn harvest, which supplies 75% of China's grain, is under "severe threat" due to the drought. "The rapid development of drought superimposed with high temperatures and heat damage has caused a severe threat to autumn crop production," they said in a statement.
The anticipated poor harvest is the latest in a series of food supply shocks that have buffeted global markets this year, following the war in Ukraine that caused global shortages of everything from sugar to cooking oil.