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Food Prices Hit New All Time Record In February

Tyler Durden's picture





 

When two months ago, in the first week of January, we observed that the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation's Food Price Index had hit a record we said: "The last time food prices hit ridiculous levels, the immediate outcome
was global food riots in places such as Haiti and Bangladesh. Which is
why distributors of riot equipment in the world's poorest countries may
be in for a bumper crop
as the Food and Agriculture Organization has
just announced that world food prices have just surpassed the previous
record last seen in 2007-2008." Little did we know just how prophetic this statement would turn out to be. Well, the FAO has just released its latest food price update and as expected, it is a new all time high. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation's Food Price Index hit its second straight record last month, further passing peaks seen in 2008 when prices sparked riots in several countries, driven by rising grain costs and tighter supply." And with oil now joining food, which means that the inflationary vicious spiral is now on, it is only a matter of time before ever more hungry countries join the wave of revolutions, now that Tunisia and Egypt have shown it can be done. On the other hand, our expectation is that the IMF will promptly seek to put out any fires before they become infernos, with the US taxpayer reeling from the double whammy of Bernanke's inflationary policy consequences: once at home, and once by subsidizing foreigners.

Reuters with an interactive chart of food prices.

And some more from Reuters:

Oil prices recently hit 2-1/2 year highs, nearing records set in 2008, with markets spooked on concern that North African and Middle East unrest would choke key supplies.

Farmers depend on fuel to run agricultural machinery, while dry bulk shippers are heavy oil users, costs which are passed on to food buyers.

Spiraling shipping costs for commodities threaten to drive food inflation even higher as nations from Asia to the Middle East and Africa scramble for supplies, analysts say.

Stockpiling by some major grain importers "beyond country's normal needs" seeking to head off political unrest and secure supplies on domestic markets, has been adding uncertainty and volatility to the markets, Abbassian said.

"Political instability in the regions and countries affects the markets by adding uncertainty: will a country buy or not buy, why it had bought so much now ... those things are disruptive to the normal trade," he said.

The FAO, which measures monthly price changes for a food basket composed of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 236 points in February, the record in real and nominal terms, up 2.2 percent from January's record and rising for the eighth month in a row.

Additionally, heavy stockpiling, as has been the case recently, will likely exacerbate matters even futher:

Bigger grain stocks now than in 2007/2008 are serving as a buffer to prevent the rerun of the food crisis, but the FAO has been concerned about the heavy use of stocks, Abbassian said.

FAO said in Thursday's statement it expected a tightening of the global cereal supply and demand balance in 2010/11.

"In the face of growing demand and a decline in world cereal production in 2010, global cereal stocks this year are expected to fall sharply because of a decline in inventories of wheat and coarse grains, " the agency said.

In this geopolitcally uncertain environment, the two key variables remain Saudi Arabia and China. And while China continues to depress the fair value of rice as we disclosed previously, most likely through political channels that ultimately feed into commercial CFTC speculator trading desks, thus keeping the situation modestly under control, the Saudi-Bahrain connection remains tenuous. In fact, today Bahrain may steal the spotlight, after the opposition not only called for a removal of the government, but has announced a mass protest for Friday.

 

 


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Thu, 03/03/2011 - 08:38 | Link to Comment Alcoholic Nativ...
Alcoholic Native American's picture

EBT FTW.

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:22 | Link to Comment grunk
grunk's picture

Step One - BTFD - Buy the fucking dip.

Step Two - ETFD - Eat the fucking dip.

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 22:02 | Link to Comment StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Ever notice that no store EVER puts up signs saying:

"New Higher Price!"

"Now with less contents!"

"Same size, Crappier Ingredients!"

Truth in advertising, bah! :>(

 

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 08:41 | Link to Comment sulfur
sulfur's picture

must be that financial terrorist pushing up the prices :)

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 08:59 | Link to Comment MarketTruth
MarketTruth's picture

Food Inflation Ahead!

Price hikes in light speed is too slow! 

Prepare for price hikes in (Spaceballs) ludicrous speed!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk7VWcuVOf0

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 10:24 | Link to Comment Pegasus Muse
Pegasus Muse's picture

"must be that financial terrorist pushing up the prices :)" 

Now that you mention it .... ---

“A JPMorgan Chase & Co. unit took delivery of almost 1 million metric tons of raw sugar, the most for the commodity since 2009, to settle the expiring March futures contract in New York. JPMorgan Futures accepted delivery on 18,748 sugar contracts, or the equivalent of 952,398 tons, ICE Futures U.S. said yesterday on its website. That represents 9.2 percent of the current year’s U.S. consumption as estimated by the government. Prices climbed to the highest level in almost three weeks in New York trading today.”

http://rss.goldtent.net/?p=235666 

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 08:44 | Link to Comment Josh Randall
Josh Randall's picture

This is what happens when there is snow all over the place

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:28 | Link to Comment MarketTruth
MarketTruth's picture

Blame it on global warming. Oops, i mean 'climate change' and then start a climate change commission and demand taxes from everyone due to the weather having the ability to change.

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 08:45 | Link to Comment max2205
max2205's picture

I don't read UN "reports" might as well read CIA bullshit..

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 08:46 | Link to Comment eigenvalue
eigenvalue's picture

You can't eat food. It is a barbaric relic...

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 08:49 | Link to Comment UGrev
UGrev's picture

No, but Al says you can use it as fuel!! GO AL!

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:10 | Link to Comment UGrev
UGrev's picture

I think Al just junked me..lawl!

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 08:59 | Link to Comment weinerdog43
weinerdog43's picture

mmmmmm, McRibs.  

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:07 | Link to Comment Cash_is_Trash
Cash_is_Trash's picture

But, but... a McRib doesn't pay any dividends!

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 22:10 | Link to Comment StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Soon, it'll be cheaper to eat other humans!  Mmmm, Mac's Ribs. :>D

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 08:48 | Link to Comment Pants McPants
Pants McPants's picture

Whew.  Good thing there is no inflation...and citizens don't want to buy gold.

On a serious note - and this has been discussed on other threads in this forum - I'm beginning to notice the stealth price increases on more products at the supermarket.  One example: mini dill pickles.  I buy the largest Mt. Olive jars available, and the price is usually between $5.50 and $6.00/jar.  In the past three weeks, the price has remained the same....but the pickles are larger.  Whereas before I could stretch one jar over five days (I love pickles, leave me alone) now it takes ~1.5 jars to cover the same five days.

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 08:52 | Link to Comment ColonelCooper
ColonelCooper's picture

Don't eat a whole pickle.  Just kidding.  Start drinking the brine and like it.

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:00 | Link to Comment MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

Ben inflated your pickle! Dastardly deed indeed! :-)

At least they are a low carb, low calorie indulgence.

There is nothing stealthy about what I am noticing. The price that used to be the regular price on some meats I buy is now the "sale" price.

I have a sausage patty I love for my family. They put them on sale and I loaded up the freezer. I looked at them 2 weeks later, they have gone up $1 a pound!!!

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:05 | Link to Comment cossack55
cossack55's picture

WalMart:

Head of Iceberg lettuce $1.48    .98 three weeks ago

Green bell pepper  $1.24          .68  three weeks ago

Coke/Pepsi    who cares, the HFCS will kill you or the aspartame (thanks donny rumsfeld)

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:43 | Link to Comment mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

Man, I been reading too many ZH stories.  When you mentioned HFCS, I automatically translated that as High Frequency Carbonation Something.

 

Fed delenda est.

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 10:17 | Link to Comment Eager learner
Eager learner's picture

Grow your own dude. Might not look as good but somehow it always tastes better.

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 12:24 | Link to Comment DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Mine looks pretty good and I grew through the winter this year for the first time (lettuce, raddish, spinach, kale, cabbage, mustards, arugula, broccoli, chard, carrot). Greenhouse facing south. With one winter cloth over the plant when it hit 25 or lower.  I know I've posted this before but Elliot Coleman, Four Season Harvest is a great work.

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 11:06 | Link to Comment Magnum
Magnum's picture

March is a notorious month for spikes in lettuce prices, it has been that way for years.  Production shift from Yuma to Salinas.  Prices usually plummet by May.

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 11:17 | Link to Comment Magic Mamaliga
Magic Mamaliga's picture

Lettuce and peppers are expensive because of COLD WEATHER in Mexico.  North Mex had snow last week and sub zero temps for half the nights of the previous 2 weeks.  I work for a produce brokerage.  Cold weather in CALI didn't help either.  Example... 1 month ago, lettuce was 15.00/box now about 35.00/box.  Peppers are 40 to 50 / box depending on size, quality, type compared to about 25-30 1 month ago...

Speculation died in produce with the recession... wholesalers don't buy produce with the notion that "someone will buy it" anymore.  This was common practice in the past with strong demand but has become risky for wholesalers to do under current conditions.  Only that which buyers are lined up for is purchased, if it can be found.

As a broker being in contact with other brokers daily, it's evident that volumes have suffered since the recession and have yet to recuperate to pre-recession levels.  I guess people are eating less fruits & veggies to save for the new iPad.  Final Utility my ass...

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 12:21 | Link to Comment DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

aspartame is Donny's most dastardly deed.  

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 12:21 | Link to Comment Weisbrot
Weisbrot's picture

is that the same asparatame that acts a drug delivery-bio weapons delivery system?

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:08 | Link to Comment docj
docj's picture

Absolutely, McPants.  Good thing Uncle Sugar keeps telling us inflation is "under control" (but who's control???) lest the sheeple might start to turn off Survivor: Redemption long enough to realize they're broke.

Can't have that now, can we.

Gas at my local station this morning: $3.47 - it was $3.09 a month ago.

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 08:52 | Link to Comment apberusdisvet
apberusdisvet's picture

Do you also have a craving for ice cream?  Did the rabbit die?

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 08:55 | Link to Comment ivars
ivars's picture

Well presented and timely information,as always. The essence is brought out clearly. So which oil supplying or potential oil/gas investment country goes next?

 

So that Oil can continue to fluctuate with upwards trend until it breaks the neck of recovery ( July 2011)? This is how it may look, based on system response to large shocks ( in this case, 2008 Lehman- 2009 March financial squeeze and stock crash ) :

http://www.saposjoint.net/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2626&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

 

http://www.saposjoint.net/Forum/download/file.php?id=2609

 

http://www.saposjoint.net/Forum/download/file.php?id=2608

 

These Graphs were made on February 6th, so far looking good, both stokc and oil price development predictions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 08:55 | Link to Comment EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

Ben Bernanke is Lieutenant Frank Drebin.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NNOrp_83RU

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 08:58 | Link to Comment PY-129-20
PY-129-20's picture

There is a saying in German: "Die Kacke ist am Dampfen!" I guess the best translation would be something like this "when the shit hits the fan". That's big news. Three months ago, I thought that at this point in time, things in the FPI would improve. YIKES!

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:01 | Link to Comment weinerdog43
weinerdog43's picture

"Die Kacke ist am Dampfen!"

That's a keeper.  Thanks!

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 10:15 | Link to Comment pods
pods's picture

I second that!  On a sticky note.

I just wonder how much longer before the Kacke really hits the Dampfen?

:)

pods

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:00 | Link to Comment Josephine29
Josephine29's picture

I reading about this earlier on a blog post looking at the possible effects of Ben Bernake's policies beyond his new "rule of thumb" for Quantitative Easing.

With the surge in commodity and food prices that has taken place since the beginning of QE 2 I wish I had established benchmarks for commodity and food prices back then. However that does not stop me from looking at what they would have been!.......

If we think of those poor souls who are struggling to feed themselves in North Africa the CRB food component has risen from 420 to 495.81 for a rise of 18%.

http://notayesmanseconomics.wordpress.com

 

I liked his other comment that if he was Ben he would be struggling to sleep at night!

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:07 | Link to Comment cossack55
cossack55's picture

Thats no problem for Rudolf von Bernankenstein, he just rolls around in the tungsten at Ft. Knox till he is exhausted and dreams the dreams of the undead.

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:10 | Link to Comment spanish inquisition
spanish inquisition's picture

V Fib shaped recovery - right on track

http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e98/vikinggoddess999/vfib.gif

Next stop. Paddles made in Iceland or flatline.

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:16 | Link to Comment lbrecken
lbrecken's picture

    so i wake up and was about to east some mini wheats
    i happen to stumble upon a box i bought a few months back .....
    it was 18 oz
    the NEW box i just bought for same price was 15.8 oz
    thats a 10% increase in price!

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:21 | Link to Comment tmosley
tmosley's picture

Spalding told me bread was 75 cents a loaf!  

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:26 | Link to Comment ak_khanna
ak_khanna's picture

The only thing driving up commodity prices worldwide are speculators armed with cheap money provided by central bankers and super fast computers. This is causing a havoc in the lives of rest of the population and pushing them towards poverty as they can no longer afford the basic necessities of life.

Regulators are either hand in glove with the banksters or are too slow to react and take ages to identify and take measures to solve the problems.

Total ban on speculation and the reinforcement of Glass Steagall Act is strictly required to bring relief to the man on the street.

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article24581.html

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:37 | Link to Comment tmosley
tmosley's picture

What is it with you and Glass Steagall?  The ONLY thing that is going to stop inflation is for central banks to stop printing money.  You don't need a bunch of regulations, you need to follow the constitution.

Trying to regulate speculation in an environment of money printing is like trying to stop an in ground pool from flooding while pouring water in by building a coffer dam.  The dam has to get higher and higher to stop the water from flowing over the top IF your regulations (the height of the dam) can keep up with the incoming water, and the effect from itself compressing the ever increasing mass of water into a smaller and smaller area.  Eventually, the dam will fail, and the disaster will be much worse.  

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 11:29 | Link to Comment SilverDOG
SilverDOG's picture

Look beyond what you are told, as your justification of events unfolding is by actions of the pawns. Who's zooming who. 

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:36 | Link to Comment Milton Waddams
Milton Waddams's picture

Food is such an overrated staple item as it is... Ever seen the Jetsons???

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 09:55 | Link to Comment Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Food and PM's in lock-step. Guess we all know what is going to keep food on the table.

Another thing to remember, all this snow this winter will come down as mlet as it warms up.

Ergo, massive flooding this winter in various downhill and down river places. Count on it. Here in India, snow still falling on the Himalayas. 

That will destroy standing crops and screw with transpostation.

We should prepare accordingly.

ORI

http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/on-outsourcing-and-its-ills/

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 10:15 | Link to Comment Eager learner
Eager learner's picture

Farmers depend on fuel to run agricultural machinery, while dry bulk shippers are heavy oil users, costs which are passed on to food buyers.

Don’t forget Fertiliser comes from oil. Oil hikes hit all the way up the food production chain.

Thu, 03/03/2011 - 17:54 | Link to Comment naughtius maximus
naughtius maximus's picture

Acutally fertilizer come primarily from natural gas. But Pesticides, yes those are oil based. Pestilence bitchez!

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