Friday, June 7, 2013

The Vampire Squid Is At It Again: What Goldman Sachs drives up the cost of food

From the Guardian UK: For several years, it was hotly debated whether speculation in food commodities drives up prices. But the evidence now firmly says it does, and that there's little correlation between rising prices and actual supply and demand. There are now well over 100 studies which agree (pdf), from sources as varied and valuable as Harvard University, the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the United Nations.  The knock-on effect of increased speculation has meant price spikes are now more and more common. In November 2012, the World Bank declared a new era of food price volatility.

While regulators play catch-up on both sides of the Atlantic, financial lobbyists are doing their utmost to block progress. The Dodd Frank Act, passed in 2010, imposed limits on speculation; but industry lobbyists are fighting at every pass.  In September last year, just before new rules would have come into effect, a Washington DC court ruled in favour of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association and the Financial Markets Association, which brought forward a claim that the rules were drafted fautily. An appeal is now pending, putting any effective regulation way out into the long grass….

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