Last week, new consumer price data released by the US Labor Department
confirmed what most shoppers already suspected: Food prices, which took
their biggest one-month leap in nearly two decades in April, rose even
further in May. Energy costs, too, went up last month. The big question,
though, is why?
Commodity analysts are quick to pinpoint reasons: Midwest flooding affecting
food, livestock feed overdrive provoked by the Chinese, biofuel-related
demand, and a weak dollar. These reasons all have some merit, but I'd argue
it's speculation that's skyrocketed prices higher faster, not supply vs.
At the financial leaders G8 summit that wrapped up over the weekend, food
and oil speculation were front and center.And G8 leaders aren't the only
ones expressing concern over traders profiting from the world's pain. Major
hedge-fund stars like George Soros and Michael Masters are also screaming
moral foul on commodity speculation—a clear signal there's more fire than
smoke on the horizon.