The Price Of Half The World’s
Staple Food Is Up 70% In
5 June 2020
First the good news: after soaring to record highs one month ago due to widespread shutdowns of meat processing plants and supply chain impairments, wholesale beef prices have tumbled sharply and are just barely higher than where they were before the coronavirus pandemic struck.
Now the not so good news: as Bank of America’s Michael Hartnett notes in his Flow Show today, while beef may be affordable again, rice – the staple food for half of world’s population – is becoming increasingly unaffordable, “surging 70% since Jan on COVID-19 labor supply chain hit & stockpiling.”
Should rice prices not revert to normal and soon, how long before the protests, riots and looting that are currently sweeping the US and various European countries spread across the entire world, this time over a far more tangible cause: hunger. As a reminder, it was the surge in food prices in late 2010 and early 2011 that precipitated the Arab Spring protests that toppled numerous political regimes and eventually culminated with the mass exodus of migrants from northern Africa and the middle east toward Europe.