Global food prices rise to new highs, not expected to fall in coming months – UN
UN News Centre/Feb 3
Food prices around the world surged to a new historic peak in January, for the seventh consecutive month, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported today, adding that the prices are not likely to decline in the months ahead. According to the FAO, its latest Food Price Index, a commodity basket that tracks monthly changes in global food prices, averaged 231 points in January and was up 3.4 per cent from December last year – the highest level since the agency started measuring food prices in 1990. It added that prices of all monitored commodity groups surged in January, except the cost of meat, which remained unchanged.
World entering era of food price volatility: WFP
“We are entering an era of food volatility and disruptions in supplies. This is a very serious business for the world,” Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP), told Insider TV on the sidelines of a U.N. Conference in London. “If people don’t have enough to eat they only have three options: they can revolt, they can migrate or they can die. We need a better action plan,” she said.
Food inflation and QE2: the correlation is undeniable
International Business Times/Feb 3
Experts can argue all they want about the causality relationship between food inflation and the Federal Reserve’s second round of quantitative easing (QE2). What cannot be denied, however, is the correlation. Indeed, ever since QE2 was clearly signaled by the Fed, the price of food commodities surged.
Bernanke On Egypt: It Is “Unfair” To Blame The Fed For Rising Food Prices
ABC News/Feb 3
ABC News’ Mary Bruce reports: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said today that it was “unfair” to blame the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies for inflation in emerging markets and defended the Fed against accusations that it has contributed to the rise of global food prices, which have fueled political instability in countries like Tunisia and Egypt.
Bernanke was asked about the situation in Egypt during a rare question and answer session following a speech today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. He initially rejected the premise of the question, but went on to discuss food prices. “The most important development globally is the fact that the world is growing more quickly, particularly in emerging markets,” he explained. “I think it’s entirely unfair to attribute excess demand pressures in emerging markets to U.S. monetary policy because emerging markets have all the tools they need to address excess demand in those countries… It really is up to emerging markets to find the appropriate tools to balance their own growth.”
Why your T-shirts could drive food inflation
The Globe and Mail/Feb 3
As global food inflation surges to ever greater heights, fears are mounting prices will be driven even higher by a commodity that’s not even edible: cotton. The price of cotton is at highs not seen in more than 140 years, sparking concerns that farmers in many countries will switch their crops for the more lucrative commodity, and stop planting food staples such as corn, soybeans and sugar.
India’s Food inflation soars to 17.05%
Hindustan Times/Feb 3
India’s wholesale price index (WPI)-based inflation climbed to 17.05% for the week-ended January 22 — up from the previous week’s 15.57% — reflecting price shocks in essential commodities, data released on Thursday showed. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee termed the rise in food prices as a matter of “grave concern.” “Price rise always, particularly, the commodity price and food items are matter of grave concern,” he told reporters.
Rice Hits 27-Month High
Wall Street Journal/Feb 3
U.S. rice futures reached 27-month highs Thursday on concerns Egypt will start importing in the face of escalating tensions and U.S. farmers will sow fewer rice acres come spring.
End of cheap food era as grain prices stay high: Reuters poll
U.S. grain prices should stay unrelentingly high this year, according to a Reuters poll, the latest sign that the era of cheap food has come to an end.
Egypt Unrest Was Sparked by Food Inflation
Egypt’s problems have been simmering for years, but food inflation has brought it to a boil. Remember: food inflation is behind much of the unrest, not just in Egypt but all over the world. Commodity prices have been rising for months, and many countries have already seen unrest over higher food prices.