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Inflation and Food Shortages?

By       Message John E. Carey       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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There could be darker clouds ahead as inflation in seval parts of the globe is causing governments to diminish food exports.

Today Vietnam, the world’s second-biggest rice exporter, said it would cut exports by 22% this year, following similar moves by India and Egypt.

Analysts said the government of Vietnam wanted to stabilise domestic food prices.

Farmers work in a rice field in Dong Anh District in Hanoi,Vietnam, ...
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 Farmers work in a rice field in Dong Anh District in Hanoi,Vietnam, Wednesday, March 26, 2008. A sharp rise in the price of rice is hitting consumer pocketbooks and raising fears of public turmoil in the many parts of Asia where rice is a staple.(AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)

Vietnam’s inflation hit an estimated 16.4 percent in the first quarter, the highest rate in 13 years, according to government figures. Food prices were a main component of the increase, rising 21.5 percent in the January-March period compared with the same months last year.

In December Vietnam’s inflation rate was 10%.

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The BBC reported Global rice prices have soared by 50% in the past two months raising supply concerns across many sectors of the world.

AFP reported from Egypt today that an advisor to the Commerce Minister announced a cutback in rice exports.

“We have taken this decision to provide for the needs of the local market,” Sayyed Abul Komsan, advisor to Commerce Minister Mohammed Rashid, told AFP.

Workers clean rice for packing at a market. Egypt is to suspend ...
Workers clean rice for packing at a market. Egypt is to suspend rice exports for six months, from April until October, to try to meet the demands of its own people hit by soaring food prices.(AFP/File/Tang Chhin Sothy)
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“Rice is a staple food in Egypt and the main substitute for dough whose price has gone up following wheat price rises on the international market,” he explained.

Thailand, the world’s largest rice exporter, could face a shortage of rice at home after skyrocketing prices world-wide have encouraged traders to substantially increase their export volumes, Prasert Kosalwit, the director-general of the Rice Department, said yesterday.

The Philippines and Cambodia already have rice shortages.  Both countries import most of their rice from Vietnam and Thailand.

China subsidies

While rice prices have risen primarily because of increasing demand from population growth, they have also been lifted by poor recent crops in Vietnam.

Vietnam has been battling with rice infection and a small invasion of insect pests for two crop seasons.  China has sid it fears its own rice harvest will be impacted.

Neighbouring Cambodia has also recently introduced limits on rice exports.

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John E. Carey is the former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.

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