Lots of news recently about escalating commodity prices. Lots of news about escalating riots in various parts of the world over high food prices.
This interactive map of recent riots over at zerohedge.com pinpoints exactly where the trouble spots are.
Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt, all erupting in street rioting this month over high commodity prices and government/regime corruption.
High onion prices in India.
France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy talking about regulating the commodity markets.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that the world’s top economies must agree new measures to curb volatility in commodity markets or risk destabilising food riots.
“We want regulation of primary commodity financial markets,’ said Sarkozy, who holds the rotating 2011 presidency of the Group of 20. How can you explain that we regulate money markets and not commodities? If we don’t do anything we run the risk of food riots in the poorest countries and a very unfavourable effect on global economic growth.”
When politicians start taking regulation, price increases and/or shortages are sure to follow.
Meanwhile, the China National People’s Congress is coming out with a new 12th Five Year Plan. I’ve read a couple of reports at work from consultants whose job it is to read the tea leaves (heh!) and break this down. China’s development plan is very much focused on inward development and consumption, technology, innovation and power generation (green and not so green).
The central government would also like to see slower growth (and lower inflation), in the range of 7 percent or so, but may have trouble getting the regional government to play along.
Overheating fears grow as local GDP targets set high (China Daily) 1/26/11
Higher GDP in China, resulting in more wealth and more Chinese wanting to eat a richer, more energy-intensive Western-style diet.
Big-name investors like Jim Rogers and George Soros are buying lots of productive farmland.
So, trying to make sense out of all this, from a personal perspective? I don’t have the money those guys do. But I’ve got enough for nine acres. And I think I’m going to plant a bigger garden this year.