Speculating with Lives, by Horand Knaup, Michaela Schiessl and Anne Seith, Spiegel Online
“In recent years, the financial markets have discovered the huge opportunities presented by agricultural commodities. The consequences are devastating, as speculators drive up food prices and plunge millions of people into poverty. But investors care little about the effects of their deals in the real world.
“… Agricultural commodities attract investors who are no more interested in grain than they were previously in dot-com companies or subprime mortgages. They range from giant pension funds to small private investors searching for new, safer investment options.
“…The downside is that food prices are rising in parallel to the ravenous demand for agricultural securities. In March, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported new record high prices, which even surpassed the prices during the last major food crisis in 2008. According to the FAO’s Food Price Index, overall food costs rose by 39 percent within one year. Grain prices went up by 71 percent, as did prices for cooking oil and fat…”
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