Saturday, March 09, 2013

A fascinating study on food prices

"Somehow the very term ‘financialization’, hard to understand and hard to explain, captures something of how remote the world of high commodity finance is from the reality of the vast majority of those who earn their living from agriculture, particularly those in the developing world. For smallholder producers, who make up some 70 per cent of the agricultural world, worries include how to protect and increase soil fertility; how to ensure reliable seeds; where to get credit for the season’s planting; whether the rains will come; where to store the harvest so as to avoid the low prices at harvest time. Guessing at the political mood in Russia or what changes the Dodd-Frank legislation might bring, let alone which way the rouble or the yuan willmove against the dollar, are not factors.
Yet both the increased presence of financial investors as owners and operators of farms (the
financialization of production) in a number of developing countries and the significantly increased activity of speculators and investors in commodity exchange markets (the financialization of price formation and risk management) affect the context in which smallholdersoperate."
From page 48 of the fascinating study 'Cereal Secrets' via Duncan Green who has a brief summary.
Another recent paper along the same lines but shorter is 'Food Price Volatility and Financial Speculation' by Stephen Spratt again linked and summarized by Duncan Green.

No comments: