Energy: Oil, Agriculture, Food, Commodities & Cost of Living (11)

    • Commodity OnlineThe end of cheap energy is here: IEA: The International Energy Agency warned that it won’t be easy to reverse the rise in energy prices because it’s getting harder to access and exploit conventional resources.
      “The age of cheap energy is over,” said IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka in a statement from Luxembourg.
      Tanaka said that if one assumes high prices are here to stay, the energy sector needs to consider whether the “extra rent” goes into the pocketbooks of global energy companies is going toward increased environmental sustainability.
    • David MaloneFood shortages and spreading unrest: Thanks to a just released World Bank/IMF report, I think  we can say the social and political upheaval that has swept from Tunisia and Egypt to Iran, Sudan and Syria, and which has been, at least in part, fueled by spiralling food costs, is going to intensify and spread to new countries. We can even, I think, hazard an informed guess as to which countries will be next.
    • Financial TimesWen keeps a wary eye on soaring food prices: There are no signs of revolutionary ferment among the farmers unloading boxes of oranges and sacks of garlic in the warehouses of Beijing’s largest wholesale produce market.
      But it is places like this that the Communist party is watching closely for evidence of spiking food prices that many believe could threaten its grip on power…
      In a country where the average household spends about a third of its disposable income on basic food, persistent food inflation of more than 10 per cent in recent months is a serious concern…
      In the absence of democratic institutions or a formal popular mandate, the Communist party’s legitimacy depends to an extraordinary degree on its record as a competent steward of the economy and guarantor of rising living standards.
    • BloombergChina Crops in Short Supply as Fewer Farms Spur Food Prices: China’s farmland shrank by 8.33 million hectares (20.6 million acres) in the past 12 years, Premier Wen Jiabao’s top agriculture adviser Chen Xiwen told reporters March 24. Land under cultivation has already fallen almost to the government’s 120 million hectare limit after being consumed by apartments, factories, desertification and a forestation campaign. Drought has also hit the country’s main wheat-growing region. “China’s increased demand for agricultural commodities will mean an increase in prices for the entire world market,” said David Stroud, chief executive officer of New York-based hedge fund TS Capital Partners. “China can outlast any other bidders for the commodities it desires.”
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