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Macroeconomic Environment, Commodity Markets: a longer term outlook

Expert Meeting on How to feed the World in 2050







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    Book (stand-alone)
    GIEWS Food Outlook - November 2010 2010
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    International prices of most agricultural commodities have increased in recent months, some sharply. The FAO Food Price index has gained 34 points since the previous Food Outlook report in June, averaging 197 points in October, only 16 points short from its peak in June 2008. The upward movements of prices were connected with several factors, the most important of which were a worsening of the outlook for crops in key producing countries, which is likely to require large draw downs o f stocks and result in tighter global supply and demand balances in 2010/11. Another leading factor has been the weakening of the United States Dollar (US Dollar) from mid-September, which continues to sustain the prices of nearly all agricultural and non-agricultural traded commodities. The increase in international prices of food commodities, all of which accruing in the second half of 2010, is boosting the overall food import bill in 2010 closer to the peak reached in 2008...
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    The state of food and agriculture, 2008
    Biofuels: prospects, risks and opportunities
    2008
    The State of Food and Agriculture 2008 explores the implications of the rapid recent growth in production of biofuels based on agricultural commodities. The boom in liquid biofuels has been largely induced by policies in developed countries, based on their expected positive contributions to climate-change mitigation, energy security and agricultural development. The growing demand for agricultural commodities for the production of biofuels is having significant repercussions on agricultural markets, and concerns are mounting over their negative impact on the food security of millions of people across the world. At the same time, the environmental impacts of biofuels are also coming under closer scrutiny. But biofuels also offer the opportunity for agricultural and rural development – if appropriate policies and investments are put in place. This report reviews the current state of the debate and the available evidence on these critical questions. It finds that concerted efforts to reform policies and invest in agriculture will be essential if the risks associated with biofuels are to be reduced, and the opportunities more widely shared.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    The 2007 - 2008 food price swing - Impact and policies in Eastern and Southern Africa
    Fao Commodities and Trade Technical Paper 12
    2009
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    Between 2007 and 2008, the world experienced a dramatic swing in commodity prices. Food commodity prices also increased substantially during the summer of 2008, reaching their highest level in nearly thirty years, before decreasing sharply as expectations for an economic recession set in. Eastern and Southern African countries experienced considerable difficulties due to the price food swing. The food price boom resulted in increased poverty and significant food security problems as households struggled to meet the high cost of food. At the macroeconomic level, high food import bills, inflation and foreign exchange constraints increased the fragility of developing and less developed countries. Although the ensuing world economic recession did lead to a drop in food prices, it carried with it a different set of problems. The decline in exports due to weak demand, decreased foreign investment and migrant remittances, as well as high unemployment all added to the b urden of already vulnerable African countries. Policy reactions to the food price surge have been prompt in many developing countries. A number of short-run measures in order to rein in the increase in food prices and to protect consumers and vulnerable population groups were introduced, such as reductions in import tariffs. Other countries resorted to food inventory management aimed at stabilizing domestic prices. A range of interventions have also been implemented to mitigate the a dverse impacts on vulnerable households, such as targeted subsidized food sales. Other countries scaled-up already existing input subsidy programs to assist producers and stimulate supply response as fertilizer prices also soared.

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