Food speculation

EU negotiators last night agreed to introduce regulation to prevent speculation by banks and hedge funds driving up food prices and exacerbating the global hunger crisis - but opposition by the UK government resulted in serious loopholes.

Food speculation: UK government in bed with the culprits


18 December 2013

Over the last few years, the EU has been trying to pass legislation to curb speculation in the commodity markets.

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Report: Dangerous Futures

December 2013

How our pensions fuel hunger

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Exposed: How the UK government has colluded with the UK finance sector against legislation to curb food speculation

December 2013

Excessive speculation in the commodity markets has increased volatility in global commodity prices, and has played a significant role in the sharp food price spikes of the last few years. Recognising this, European legislators have proposed legislation to curb speculation, as part of a major reform of European financial regulation called the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID).

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MEP briefing: Effective reforms for stable food prices

July 2013

Excessive financial speculation in commodity derivatives has significantly increased price volatility and inflation for staple foods and other commodities. This has had negative impacts for consumers and businesses in Europe and has contributed to significant increases in hunger and poverty globally.

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Campaign briefing: Collective solutions to changing food prices

June 2013

Access to adequate food is a basic human need and right. However, throughout most of the world, it is distributed mainly through markets, meaning that access is determined by consumers’ ability to pay, and returns for producers are dependent on the market price. Changes in these prices can have dramatic consequences for people’s quality of life – especially those living in poverty. But collective solutions do exist, and are being put into practice around the world.

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MP briefing: tackling hunger and protecting consumers

April 2013

In 2008, food prices reached record levels rising 80 per cent in 18 months then declining rapidly. Since 2009 prices have climbed again reaching a new record peak in early 2011 and have been at high levels since.

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Investment banks’ revenue from food speculation 2010-2012

March 2013

Based on the calculations below, we estimate that in the three years 2010 to 2012, the top five banks involved in food speculation – Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley – made around £2.2bn from trading food commodity contracts. This figure is an estimate based on a number of assumptions and using two different methodologies and the actual figure could be higher.

Barclays, which announced an end to its speculation on food on Tuesday, made up to an estimated £278 million from the trade in 2012. The figure brings the bank’s total revenue from food speculation from 2010 to 2012 to an estimated three quarters of a billion pounds.

A costumed Lady Luck and a croupier in black tie, with a roulette wheel and giant playing cards, protested in front of the Tory party conference in Birmingham this morning, calling on George Osborne to stop bankers driving up food prices through financial speculation.

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