"Overlapping Emergencies" Pushes Countries To Bolster Food Supply Stocks 

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Jul 08, 2024 - 12:25 AM

A new report warns that "the world entered an age of overlapping emergencies" and indicates the need for a new stabilization approach involving a buffer system to mitigate price volatility in essential commodities to promote economic stability and growth. 

"The neoliberal stabilization paradigm of interest rate hikes and austerity left economies around the world unprepared for the shocks to essentials experienced in the overlapping emergencies of war, conflict, climate change, and pandemic," the lead author, Isabella Weber, of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, wrote in the report. 

Weber said, "More regular supply shocks are likely for food. Extreme weather events are predicted to be frequent and have already affected regional agricultural yields." 

"We argue that in an age of overlapping emergencies, such a new paradigm requires a refocusing on stabilization policies for essential sectors that have the potential to unleash systemic instabilities when hit by shocks," she wrote, adding, "We revisit the classic case for public buffer stock systems."

She noted, "Price volatility in essential commodities can lead to sellers' inflation because of the interaction with administered prices in the industrial sector and can hamper growth and development prospects." 

Separately, Bloomberg reported that Norway has initiated a plan to increase its domestic grain stockpiles.

"This is about being prepared for the unthinkable," Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum said last week. 

Norway plans to shield its citizens from commodity price spikes by storing up to 82,500 tons of state-owned grains at private companies. This buffer system will protect citizens for about three months and will be fully operational in 2029. 

The latest data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) shows global food prices increased for the third consecutive month in May.

The FAO Food Price Index on a year-over-year change shows that price acceleration could resume in the near future. 

"Countries are getting more and more nervous," Chris Hegadorn, adjunct professor of global food politics at Sciences Po in Paris, told Bloomberg. 

Hegadorn said, "Price volatility continues to be a major problem that countries are looking for extra security."

It's not just countries that are nervous about another food price spike...

Let's not forget that elevated food inflation crushes the working poor, leaving governments more suitable to food riots.

Food inflation will by stick this decade. Get use to high supermarket prices.