Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Are Cereal Grains A Good Commodity Play?

There are hundreds of millions, if not billions, of unfortunates living in Africa and Asia who will not be eating this Winter, unless someone purchases grain on the World market for them to eat. These purchases could drive prices for cereal grains much higher than they are now. Buying cereal grain contracts now could be profitable.

There is no doubt that the governments of the countries where these people reside would buy grain for them if they could. Hungry people are politically unstable people. No government wants that. Sadly, the need could be so great that many countries won't have the money to buy grain and loans are not so easy to come by as they once were. The UN doesn't have that kind of money to give. The US has other irons in the fire and will not shoulder that kind of foreign aid alone. Other developed nations are not traditionally so generous as the US.

Large scale famine has been rare the last sixty or so years but populations of poor nations have increased dramatically and the money for international social programs is drying up. Many countries that were self sustaining agriculturally just a few years ago are no longer. It's possible that millions will starve while available grain supplies languish in warehouses, unsalable even at reasonable prices.

I don't want to go all Malthusian on you but I'd take a pass on those rice contracts. Buy Barley and hops. It's going to be a good year for drinking heavily.


Anonymous said...

Well, I'm an Iowan farmboy from wayback, and have come to the conclusion many years now that "food aid" and other such softie programs do only one thing.

They remove incentive from each countries' farmers to provide food thru the signal of higher prices.

But, oh my, we must feed the population of Rhodesia. etc etc.


reddog said...

We can't feed everybody and farmers need to be paid a fair market price for their crops.