Saturday, April 05, 2008

Rice Prices Climbing, Hoarding Becomes a Punishable Offense

Once again ... this is just the leading edge of what is coming, to include continuous food price hikes and worsening supply problems in the USA. There are no near-term solutions on the horizon.

Rice jumps as Africa joins race for supplies
By Javier Blas in Nairobi and Roel Landingin in Manila
Published: April 4 2008 15:23 Last updated: April 4 2008 19:22

Rice prices rose more than 10 per cent on Friday to a fresh all-time high as African countries joined south-east Asian importers in the race to head off social unrest by securing supplies from the handful of exporters still selling the grain in the international market.

The rise in prices – 50 per cent in two weeks – threatens upheaval and has resulted in riots and soldiers overseeing supplies in some emerging countries, where the grain is a staple food for about 3bn people.

The increase also risks stoking further inflation in emerging countries, which have been suffering the impact of record oil prices and the rise in price of other agricultural commodities – including wheat, maize and vegetable oil – in the last year.

Kamal Nath, India’s trade minister, said the government would crack down on hoarding of essential commodities to keep a lid on food prices. “We will not hesitate to take the strongest possible measures, including using some of the legal provisions that we have against hoarding,’’ he said on Friday.

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