Saturday, November 3, 2007

Rising Food Prices- Should we blame the Chinese?

'What if a billion people suddenly starts drinking milk and protein rich food'

Assorted on the rising world food prices;

Rising Food Prices and What That Means-Becker;
My conclusion is that putting aside two major uncertainties, the Malthusian fears about rising food prices will not materialize. Food production will adapt to the growing demands from developing countries, and food prices in the future should continue their downward trend of the past century. One uncertainty that could upset this optimistic forecast relates to global warming, for food prices might rise steeply if global warming had sizable negative effects on the worldwide productivity of agricultural land. The second concerns biofuels, since food prices would also increase if sizable amounts of additional acreage continue to be diverted to production of ethanol and other biofuels in the attempt to cut down the use of fossil fuels.

Food Prices and Ethanol--Posner's Comment

Poor may riot if food price soars - U.N. food chief

Senegal's Wade cuts govt pay as food prices rise

Russian pensioners protest against high food prices
Russian milk powder prices have doubled this year and bread prices have rocketed in line with world grain prices.

"I receive a pension of 3,000 roubles ($121.7 per month). They have given me another 300 roubles. On this money, I can eat 250 grammes of bread a day. That's why I'm against Putin and United Russia," said a pensioner at the march, who declined to give her name.

Rising food prices
In recent weeks, food prices have skyrocketed, putting even greater stain on Jamaican families who have to contend with a Gross National Product (GNP) per capita of US$3,500 per year.

Wages, prices and poverty-India;

Venezuela Consumer Prices Jump In Oct On Food

Chile Oct CPI Seen Up 0.7% On Food, Fuel Prices

The unexpected rise in food and oil prices caused Turkey's inflation figures to rise

Rising food prices a headache for policy makers: MoF (Pakistan)

Hungary central bank holds base rate on food prices

Pasta price hike prompts protests in Italy

Alarm is growing about rising food prices;
THE world’s most vulnerable who spend 60% of their income on food have been priced out of the food market,” is the alarming warning from Josette Sheeran, head of the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP). As the price of wheat, maize, corn and other commodities that make up the world’s basic foodstuffs is soaring the poorest people in the poorest countries are the hardest hit. And as prices shoot up helping them is getting tougher too. The WFP’s food costs increased by more than 50% over the past five years. Ms Sheeran predicts that they will increase by another 35% in the next couple of years too.

For many years the least developed nations have worried about food security, especially countries at war and those battling droughts and other climatic hardships. Meanwhile the world’s richest nations have produced more than enough for their needs and spent more time and effort worrying about the problems related to an abundance of food. These range from the health risks associated with ballooning rates of obesity to subsidies for uncompetitive farmers, particularly from the European Union. Despite efforts to tackle spending on farm subsidies, over 40% of the entire EU budget still goes towards supporting agriculture.

"Until two years ago we had too much food, but it was badly and unequally distributed,” says Abdolreza Abbassian, secretary of the intergovernmental group for grains trade at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), a UN agency. Today about 850m people, mostly women and children, remain chronically hungry while 1.1 billion are obese or overweight.

Global Food Price Shock Adds to Headline vs. Core Debate

Rising Food Prices May Give Bernanke, Central Bankers Heartburn

The return of price controls

Are Soviet-style price controls returning?

Food prices and poverty

Prepare for a food crunch

Zoellick, PM express concern over rise in oil, food prices
The World Bank President, Mr Robert B. Zoellick and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, have expressed concern over the continuing rise in global oil and food prices.

Cong hits back, assails Left for Bengal food riots;
Making clear its intentions to retaliate against the Left if it goes too far on the nuclear deal issue, Congress on Monday assailed the Marxist regime in West Bengal for the raging food riots across the state.

"It is a matter of serious concern and reflects the grave deficiency in distribution, pricing and regulatory system in the state," Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.

Food riots warning

Breadline blues;
So when the price of bread goes up or loaves vanish from the shelves altogether, as has happened this month, Kazakhs get alarmed. When other basic food items become dearer too, the public mood plummets. Bread prices have gone up by 30%, and the price of sugar, flour and sunflower oil doubled or even tripled within days recently. This at once recalled the dark days of hyperinflation during the post-Soviet years of the early 1990s. People's instinctive reaction was to start hoarding. By October 20th they had emptied shops in the capital, Astana, and other northern cities...

The government has moved into crisis mode and taken a number of measures. It was quick to find a scapegoat: “speculators” who were allegedly fixing prices—ie, the traders supplying markets and shops. But the World Bank's chief economist for Kazakhstan, John Litwack, believes the problem is simply the result of increased world-market prices and panic among the population, rather than conspiracy by a monopoly or cartel. Neighbouring Russia has imposed price controls on basic foods.

The Kazakh ministry of industry and trade, however, has been told to devise a plan for buying several months-worth of basic food supplies to stabilise prices in the future. This week exports of sunflower oil were banned. Karim Masimov, the prime minister, inspected shops in Astana and declared the shortages over. Even so, people are angrily questioning the government's role. If a one-party parliament, a record grain harvest and the prospect of doubling oil production by 2015 cannot help prevent such price vagaries, what can?

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