Spiralling food and energy prices are threatening global economic growth, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has warned. Speaking in Brussels, the current G20 head called for stricter rules to reign in those who profiteer from trading in food and other commodities.
Sarkozy said that could only be achieved through better oversight of markets: ’‘I’m saying who can accept this, during a time when we don’t have enough to feed the planet, speculators trade 46 times more than the actual volume of the world wheat market.’‘
Low rainfall worldwide has caused wheat prices to rise to their highest levels since 2008. EU ministers insist they are watching things closely.
EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Dacian Ciolos said: “Hopefully this Autumn we will be able to publish data on production and on stocks of key produce. I’m thinking of cereals, oilseeds, meat and dairy production.”
In addition, fuel prices are being blamed for the hike in farm production costs. Consumer protection groups are demanding more transparency.
‘‘What we often find is that foodstuffs go up and when the price of raw materials falls these foodstuffs don’t drop by the same amount. That tells us there are a certain number of anomalies in the market, perhaps because of an absence of transparency and regulation,’‘ said Jean-Philippe Ducart from Belgian consumer protection agency Test-Achats.
The result on high streets in many parts of Europe – higher prices on some of the most basic food items. Our correspondent Christelle Pétrongari in Brussels says: ’‘A lot of talk and a lot of initiatives, but experts say it is impossible to regulate the global food market in the face of speculation. Many believe this poses a real threat to the world economy, that’s why it is up for discussion at the forthcoming G20 summit in Cannes in November.’‘