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Unrest in Egypt causes spike in wheat prices

Wheat ready for harvest.

TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: Well higher oil prices aren't the only economic consequence of the unrest in Egypt. Wheat prices are going up, and that's already having ripple effects across the world.

Marketplace's Scott Tong tells us why.


SCOTT TONG: Egypt is the world's leading importer of wheat. The World Bank says 30 million Egyptians are impoverished, and most spend half their income on food. Rising prices have sparked deadly protests in North Africa before. And mindful of Egypt meltdown now, neighboring countries are putting in big grain orders to feed their people.

Dan Basse is president of Ag Resource Company in Chicago.

DAN BASSE: The Algerians are bringing in lots of wheat trying to forestall a situation like that. While in Tunisia we had a president who was ousted over rising food prices to the same degree. Yes in those countries where there's a very impoverished population, rising food prices does have a play.

Among other grain buyers: Jordan, Libya, Turkey, Qatar, Morocco and Lebanon. In fact, Goldman Sachs now warns global hoarding of rice and wheat "will intensify."

In fact, some analysts figure that stockpiling, combined with tight global supply, could jack up prices even more.

In Washington, I'm Scott Tong for Marketplace.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.
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President Obama’s decision to turn 30% of the worlds Corn crop into ethanol is wise. By most estimates it will save little or no petroleum, but it is one more step on his billion dollar campaign chest for reelection, much of this now in PACs and corporations. He will be able to stifle many democracies and aspirations of the common man in the upcoming strife; The exact type of upstart men that occasionally are still found driving nice cars and living in nice houses in America .

The bottom half of the income spectrum in parts of the middle east, and South Asia spend 50% of their income on food. His wise policy has doubled corn and wheat prices. I think most likely the majority of the truly poor that buy very little consumer products will quietly lay down and starve or at least cause very little trouble from malnutrition.

It is likely staple food could soon more then double in price. I am one of the children that were not left behind. I can do the math and if they used to spend 50% of their income on food, and food more then doubles, it is not possible for them to spend 150% of their income on food.

Even better this will create lots of things for our security forces to do, like silencing the morons that think we should cut back our security forces.

P.S. this is an Ironic comic.. many that have apparently been left behind may not notice this ...

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