[OPE-L] Non-equilibrium economics of food

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Thu Nov 15 2007 - 15:45:36 EST

You might think that of all commodities, food would show the most stable
supply/demand pattern, but...

Rapid food price increases are fuelling consumers' fears about overall
inflation in the 13-country region, the European Central Bank has warned, as
official data confirmed that the rate of price rises had hit the highest
level for more than two years. (...) Eurozone inflation leapt to 2.6 per
cent in October from 2.1 per cent in September, Eurostat, the European Union's
statistical unit has confirmed, the fastest rate of increase since September
2005. Economists see a significant risk that food prices and energy costs
will push inflation to 3 per cent before the end of the year. The ECB aims
to keep the annual rate "below but close" to 2 per cent.

LA Times: Food prices are rising faster in 2007 than they have in the last
15 years, after April saw a 3.9 % national increase in grocery prices.
Although there are many factors in the rising prices, including inflation,
drought, and unseasonable freezing temperatures, the bulk of the blame is
falling on the rising price of corn, now in high demand for ethanol

"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. (...) "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

LONDON (Reuters) - Soaring food and energy prices could trigger political
upheaval and riots in developing countries, the United Nations world food
body chief Jacques Diouf said on Wednesday.  Food prices are booming: the
Food and Agriculture Organization's food price index in July stood at its
highest level since its inception in 1990, and was almost 70 percent higher
than in 2000, the Rome-based FAO director-general said.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Nov 30 2007 - 00:00:03 EST