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An illustrative look at news and events


Grocery prices rising

Agricultural commodities saw their market value climb significantly in 2010. After two
years of respite because of the recession, much higher prices are currently being passed
along to consumers, which is already causing political complications in some countries.
Several factors 77%
1. Poor weather:
Weather disruptions due to La Nina destroyed harvests in many countries. 47%
Torrential rains: Drought: 39% Rising prices
India Australia 27% in 2010
Pakistan China
Soy Corn Wheat Coffee Cotton
2. Speculation:
Very low interest rates are causing speculators to put their
money into raw materials, in an effort to maximize their profits.
December 2010: $214.7
3. Fabrication of biofuel: The global agricultural commodities
Land that was used to grow food products for humans have been converted index reaches a record high.
to produce corn or palm oil-based ethanol.
Rebound in 2010
4. Increase in demand: High oil prices (used in
The planet adds another 80 million additional mouths to feed per year, or 219,000 per day. agriculture and trans-
portation) caused a 40 %
increase in the price of
RUSSIA foods in 2007, which was
Consequences Banned wheat exports in 2010. The
repeated the following
year. The global agricul-
ban will continue indefinitely in 2011. tural commodities index
saw another 25 %
In millions of metric tons
Hunger riots and increase in 2010.

preventative stockpiling
11.6 ASIA The uneven sharing of riches and the
58.2 difficulty to feed themselves are the outcries
NORTH AMERICA ARAB NATIONS from developing countries
OCEANIA To avoid social disorder, countries like Algeria
SUB-SAHARAN Gas prices
8 AFRICA and Bangladesh doubled their imports of wheat
LATIN 9.1 and rice in the first weeks of 2011, which
AMERICA contributed to the global price increase.
India, which has seen a 70 % increase in
vegetable prices, banned the export of onions. 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010
Sources: Bloomberg, Wall St. Journal, Fao, LA Times, World Socialist Website,, Times of India RESEARCH BY PIERRE-ETIENNE PARADIS; GRAPHICS BY JUSTIN STAHLMAN/QMI AGENCY