Food speculation 'boom' linked to volatile food prices
13th September, 2011
In a major investigation and film, the Ecologist takes a look at how volatile financial speculation on food commodities is causing hunger and poverty in Mexico - and around the world
Financial speculation has emerged as one of the lesser known factors behind the recent price surges in key foods like maize and wheat.
Investment banks have been accused of 'amplifying' price changes in food commodities through a surge in speculative trading.
The Ecologist Film Unit travelled to Mexico - one of the first countries to experience price jumps in its key commodity Maize back in 2006/7 - to find out how it has impacted people.
- Tom Levitt reports from Mexico on how the surge in financial speculation is threatening the health and livelihoods of poor families - through the rising cost of its national staple corn tortilla
- He also reports on a new campaign to stop the 'secretive' trade in food commodities by investment banks like Goldman Sachs and Barclays - blamed, in part, for food speculation
- Alan Bjerga tells the story of how the US investment bank Goldman Sachs started the food speculation frenzy back in the 1990s - and how regulation is now being delayed by both the banking sector and Republicans
- Adriana Chow's photo-story looks at how Mexico's unique maize heritage is being eroded first by subsidised US corn imports and now by rampant food speculation
- Deborah Doane of the World Development Movement (WDM) tells us why it's time we stopped listening to the banking sector and started pressuring our local MPs and MEPs to limit financial speculation in food
- Hannah Corr explains how you can take action yourself by lobbying your local Barclays Bank and emailing the Treasury to urge them to back stricter regulation
- You can also read our previous stories on the profits being made by Barclays and Goldman Sachs from speculating on the price of food commodities. And get the insiders guide to food speculation from former city Broker Brett Scott
Special report How Goldman Sachs started the food speculation frenzy
US Investment bank Goldman Sachs convinced government officials in the early 1990s to allow it to start gambling on the price of food. Alan Bjerga explains how they did it
Special report Banks should end 'secretive' trade in food commodities
Financial speculation in key commodities, like wheat and maize, is being linked to recent volatile food prices but attempts to regulate are being delayed by lobbying from the banking sector
Photo story Mexico's corn heritage eroded by free-trade and food speculation
A combination of free trade and volatile food speculation is squeezing small-scale Mexican maize farmers and allowing agribusiness to dominate
Special report Mexico's poor suffer as food speculation fuels tortilla crisis
A surge in financial speculation on maize is causing vastly inflated prices for corn tortillas - a sacred staple in Mexico - and threatening the health and livelihoods of the country's poor. Tom Levitt investigates
Special report Time to ignore bankers and start fixing our broken markets
It's time we stopped listening to the banking sector and started pressuring MPs and MEPs to regulate food speculation, argues Deborah Doane
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