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Hedge Funds Commodities Trading

Hedge Funds Commodities Trading

Charity Accuses Traders of Gambling with Lives of the Poor

The World Development Movement has issued a report accusing hedge funds and other financial speculators of gambling with the lives of impoverished people.  The charity warns that those trading commodities in recent years could potentially cause major flucuations in the prices of commodities.  In recent years the prices of essential commodities such as energy, cocoa and coffee have risen dramatically.
The charity's demands for the British financial watchdog to follow the US in cracking down on such speculation comes against a backdrop of cocoa prices jumping to a 33-year high as it emerged that a London hedge fund had snapped up a large part of the world's stock of beans. On Friday, traders say, Armajaro took delivery of 240,100 tonnes of cocoa – the biggest from London's Liffe exchange in 14 years and equal to about 7% of annual global production, according to the Financial Times. 
A 150% rise in cocoa prices over the past 18 months has forced many chocolate-makers to raise their prices and often to use less cocoa. 
The WDM's Great Hunger Lottery report says "risky and secretive" financial bets on food prices have exacerbated the effect of poor harvests in recent years. It argues that volatility in food prices has made it harder for producers to plan what to grow, pushed up prices for British consumers and in poorer countries risks sparking civil unrest, like the food riots seen in Mexico and Haiti in 2008. Source

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