Global Commodity Crunch

August 23, 2012

The summer of 2008 saw three unprecedented market spikes: 1) the spike in oil prices, reaching $147 per barrel; 2) the spike in food prices rising 50% casting millions in the developing further into poverty and 3) the spike in the prices of steel, copper and pulp and paper. While each of these events had different causes and in fact, different consequences, each shared a common factor: that the price of each commodity was pushed up due to real and perceived pressures on supply. Since these market peaks and subsequent declines, several worrying trends have emerged as nations look to prepare for very probable future price increases. For instance, some wealthy nations have begun purchasing land in Africa to ensure food security and remote and fragile regions of the world have been opened for oil and mineral exploration. At the same time, however, many governments have been slow to create viable long-term and large-scale solutions to meet future energy policy or completing such trade agreements such as the Doha round. This panel will address what solutions are required in order to avert future commodity crises and how best to protected disadvantages populations that are most affected by commodity volatility and commodity scarcity.