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Speculation on Commodities Futures Markets and Destabilization Of Global Food Prices: Exploring the Connections

In December 2010, the FAO food price index surpassed its previous peak of June 2008, and prices have been maintained at this high level through September 2011 (i.e. as of this writing). This pattern in food prices is creating justified fears of a renewal or intensification of the global food crisis. This paper reviews arguments and evidence to inform current debates on how to regulate commodity futures markets in the face of such price volatility and sustained high prices, focusing on 1) the relationship between market liquidity and price patterns in asset markets in general and commodities futures markets in particular, and 2) the relationship between spot and futures market prices for food. We find that there is strong and consistent evidence in support of the need to limit the huge increases in trading volume on futures markets through effective regulations. We also find that the opposite position

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