Trade News: Food Versus Fuel? To Drive to Eat Versus the Hunger to Compete

From USDA/ERS – Food CPI and Expenditures: CPI for Food Forecasts: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food is probably the most widely used indicator of changes in retail food prices. ERS regularly updates food price forecasts for the short-term period. In 2011, the CPI for all food is projected to increase 3 to 4 percent. ERS’s food price outlook is available for May 2011.  Bad news for consumers as the cost of basic food stuffs are expected to increase 3% to 8% during 2011.  Meats show the largest rises while fresh fruits the smallest.  Good time to become a vegetarian.

Food is Fuel. For cars & people

In a related Article from the ICTSD: OECD, FAO: No End for High Food Prices in Upcoming Decade:  High global food prices and volatile commodity markets are expected to persist over the next decade according to a joint report from the organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Continued high food prices could be disastrous for populations in developing countries. Price volatility could also be mitigated if governments provide better information on commodity markets. “If we’re trying to avoid volatility, information is absolutely of the essence,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría observed.  Thus the importance of Trade Intelligence. 

The need & price for food & fuel are rising

A recent publication on Biofuel policies, The Impact of US Biofuel Policies on Agricultural Price Levels and Volatility is available for review at the ICTSD website.  A PDF version of the entire report is also available.  “Changes in developed country biofuel policy are some of the key recommendations of an intergovernmental organization report to the G20, a group of leading economies. This paper provides in-depth analysis on the relationship between biofuel policy in the US and food price volatility.”  Some say it all comes down to providing more food or more fuel.

Also from ICTSD post is a LEAKED document addressing the above crisis. Draft Ministerial Declaration: Action Plan on Food Price Volatility and Agriculture.  From a meeting of G20 Agriculture Ministers on June 22-23, 2011.   Because of the nature of this material, all portions of the text have been encoded to prevent copying.  However you can view or download a PDF version of the entire draft by going to this ICTSD link.

From the Wall Street Journal: G-20 to Press U.S. to End Aid for Biofuels Industry: Trading Partners Take Issue With Washington’s Use of Policy to Promote Industry; EU Wants Tax Credit Scrapped. The biofuels industry turns corn, wheat, rapeseed, sugar cane and other crops into fuel. Last week, the U.S. Senate voted 72-37 to eliminate a 45-cents-per-gallon tax credit for blended biofuel and regular fuel and a 54-cents-per-gallon import tariff on imported ethanol.  If you can’t view the complete article at the WSJ site, you can view the article at the ITCSD Website.

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