Food Prices, Riots, And Starvation
by Jeff Harding
Jan 13, 2011
Food prices are going up. Riots in China, India, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Algeria are about the cost of food. Some countries are talking about price controls and subsidies to keep prices down.
According to a just released report from the Department of Agriculture, grain supplies will be tight.
The USDA again revised downward its estimate for the size of last fall’s corn and soybean harvest in the U.S. It made a surprise cut to its estimates for the size of the soybean crop, to 3.33 billion bushels from 3.38 billion. End-of-season inventories of corn, already expected to be at a 15-year low, were cut by more than 10% to 745 million bushels.
The USDA’s crop report for the month of January is one of the most hotly anticipated of the year. The fact that the agency took its scythe to previous forecasts is yet more confirmation that world supplies are approaching precariously low levels.
The devastating drought and wildfires in Russia in the summer of 2010 were a shock from which grain markets haven’t recovered. Crops are hurting from a drought in Argentina, dryness in the U.S. Plains and torrential rains in Australia. …