food-commodity

We’ll make a killing out of food crisis, Glencore trading boss boasts

The United Nations, aid agencies and the British Government have lined up to attack the world’s largest commodities trading company, Glencore, after it described the current global food crisis and soaring world prices as a “good” business opportunity.

With the US experiencing a rerun of the drought “Dust Bowl” days of the 1930s and Russia suffering a similar food crisis that could see Vladimir Putin’s government banning grain exports, the senior economist of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, Concepcion Calpe, has said: “Private companies like Glencore are playing a game that will make them enormous profits.”

Calpe said leading international politicians and banks expecting Glencore to back away from trading in potential starvation and hunger in developing nations for “ethical reasons” would be disappointed.

“This won’t happen,” she said. “So now is the time to change the rules and regulations about how Glencore and other multinationals such as ADM and Monsanto operate. They know this and have been lobbying heavily around the world to water down and halt any reform.”

Glencore’s director of agriculture trading, Chris Mahoney, sparked the controversy when he said: “The environment is a good one. High prices, lots of volatility, a lot of dislocation, tightness, a lot of arbitrage opportunities.

“We will be able to provide the world with solutions… and that should also be good for Glencore.”….

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Unholy trade of making millions out of misery

Chris Mahoney’s candour has shed light on secretive industry which impacts on the world’s poorest

Every so often a business titan forgets himself, drops his guard and tells us what he’s really thinking.

So it was that a big cheese at the world’s largest commodities trader bragged that the worst drought to hit the US since the 1930s – and the worrying volatility in food prices around the world – will be “good for Glencore”.

On one reading, Chris Mahoney, the business titan in question, appeared to be celebrating the destruction of 45 per cent of America’s corn and 35 per cent of its soya bean crops this year. The crisis threatens to push cereal prices to a new record in a move that will put further pressure on the world’s poorest people and raises the prospect of a fresh round of food riots.

Mr Mahoney’s comments have put the spotlight firmly back on food prices, which rose by an average of 6 per cent globally in July, while cereals accelerated considerably faster still, jumping by 17 per cent to within a whisker of their record in April 2008, according to the UN…..

The Independent: Read more